By Adebola Adegoke
Lagos – A youth development organisation, Strategy for Mentoring Initiative and Leadership Empowerment (SMILE), on Friday called on youths to take advantage of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) to ensure self-reliance.
Mrs Bimpe Bamgbose-Martins, President of SMILE, made the call at an event organised in collaboration with the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) to commemorate the 2018 World Youth Skills Day on Friday in Lagos.
World Youth Skills Day (WYSD), which is observed on July 15 every year, is set aside by the United Nations to encourage youths to invest in skills acquisition.
The theme for 2018 is “Improving the Image of Technical and Vocational Education Training”.
In her address, Bamgbose-Martins said that lack of relevant skills among youths and the desperate pursuit of white collar jobs contribute to high rate of unemployment.
“Lack of relevant skills continues to pose a great challenge for our youths, making it difficult for them to access and optimise job opportunities as they desire.
“Our goal for commemorating the 2018 WYSD is to create awareness on the importance of skills development as a vital component for success and accessing limited opportunities for the youths.
“This event has proffered solutions beyond white-collar jobs by promoting entrepreneurship, self-employment, creativity and problem solving as viable options for youth unemployment,’’ she said.
She advised unemployed youths to think outside the box and look for ways to become self-reliant.
“I challenge all youths to explore and harness your potential and have entrepreneurship mind-set that will help distinguish you.
“The reality is that there are no more white-collar jobs waiting for you.
“The best thing is to look for ways to become self-reliant and self-employed.’’
Speaking on the importance of TVET in Nigeria, Mrs Bolanle Olumeko, Knowledge Management Assistant, UNIC, said training was central to the achievement of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
“Youth unemployment is one of the most significant problems facing economies around the world.
“This is why the United Nations, as part of its reform, is focusing of youths.
“TVET can equip youths with the skills required to access the world of work including skills for self-employment.
“It can also offer skills development opportunities for low-skilled people who are under-employed, unemployed, out of school and individuals not in education, employment and training (NEETs),” Olumeko said.
Mr Olusanya Abayomi, Tutor General/Permanent Secretary Education District II, also urged youths to key into skills acquisition programmes in order to properly harness their God-given talents.
“The era of paper qualification is gradually going into extinction, hence the need for skill acquisition.
“Skill acquisition is the ability to learn new skills and this type of programme helps to reduce youth unemployment and promotes self-reliance.
“I want to advise our youths to adhere strictly to programmes like this, because it is through this that their God given talents can be harnessed,’’ Abayomi said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 50 students from ten public schools in the Education District II and VI, who successfully completed the SMILE’s Young Leaders Mentoring Programme, were given awards and certificates at the event.