THE WAY FORWARD
Entrepreneurship is not just skill acquisition for acquisition sake; it is an acquisition of skills and ideas for the sake of creating employment for oneself and also for others. It also includes the development based on creativity (Oseni, Momoh and Momodu, 2012). Entrepreneurship leads to the development of small, medium and sometimes large scale businesses based on creativity and innovation. The success of these businesses in turn helps in developing the nation’s economy. It equally reduces poverty rate with visible increment in employment rate among the youth. Entrepreneurship shifts young people from being “job seekers” to “job creators” and also from social dependence to self-sufficient people. However, training is very essential in entrepreneurship.
Self-employment can be attained through vocational and technical education. Vocational education is a form of education in which people are provided with practical skills which allow them to engage in careers which involve manual or practical abilities. Some examples of careers for which people can receive vocational training include aviation mechanics, hotel management, hair styling, plumbing, air conditioner installation, cab driving, carpentry, building, masonry, welding, electrical and electronics technicians, information and communication technology (ICT), weaving, mechanic, hair dressing, tailoring, barbing, real estate development, haulage and logistics, Inland water transport, Call center agency, outsourced bus service, e-services, daycare services, waste management, food processing, alternative power installation, plantation farming, graphics, artistry and printing just to mention a few. Youths that acquire vocational training and qualification are designed to prepare to be self-employed. Also with practical experience in any of these trades, youths can be assured that they can set up a business on their own and become employer of labour.
Apart from the qualifications that youths possess, there are other attributes (non-academic skill requirement) which youth can possess. These attributes include analytical skills and good communication skills, good personal and social skills, technical and managerial skills among others.
There is the need to take into cognizance the expectations of graduates and youths for non-existing white collar jobs while their background does prepare them to take advantage of self-employment, especially in the informal sector.
To prevent unemployment, it is necessary to begin diverting, counseling right from primary school level. In line with this, Mallum (2004) opined that vocational decision making and self-employment begins in childhood and continues throughout life.
Exposing children to a world of career opportunities gives them ample opportunity to know which career opportunities are available and are of their own interest and capability. Toward this end, counseling activities about self-employment should continue from primary through secondary to tertiary institutions. This is because it gives a kind of education known as ‘shock absorber education’ and broadens youth’s horizons.
Counseling as part of education enables youth of whatever level of education to be able to absorb the shock of not being employed and to focus on being self-employed.
Career guidance services should be made compulsory and provided for all level of education to help youths in making realistic career choice. The efficiency of any career guidance effort will be dramatically enhanced if it begins early in life and becomes a way of thinking.
Work-Study programme is an attempt to provide practical experiences of the world of work to students as they learn in the classroom. This is aimed at linking classroom experiences to the world of work, thus making youths independent and self-employed. Work-Study programme should be encouraged by the government so as to help the youth and to reduce the unemployment rate.
The National Policy on Education did indicate that with the introduction of pre-vocational subjects at the Junior Secondary School level, the technical subjects at the Senior Secondary School, the artisans would be employed to teach the students the art of these vocations, thus which may make them self-employed. This implied that the graduates of our school system have prepared only for education and not for the world of work. But sadly enough, this policy has only operated on paper.
The situation on ground today as far as expansion of employment opportunity for youth and self-employment is concerned calls for a concerted effort at implementing the tenants of the National Policy of Education.
Youths should not only be guided to career choice but equally be exposed to various skills that could be of help to them. Toward this end, vocational courses should be included in the curriculum at all levels of Nigerian Educational system and Work -Study programme should be considered and intensified.
Tertiary institutions should help youths (students) to develop skills that will help them to be marketable in the world of work, job-hunt and to be self-employed. Tertiary institutions should embark on curricula innovations as a necessary step in making sure their products are exposed to the necessary skills, competencies and strategies they require to secure or create employment easily for themselves and the several others who are waiting on the vending employment queues outside the tertiary institutions.
Tertiary institutions in collaboration with the government should plan the curriculum in line with what is needed for youth performance in workplace, self-employment and national development. Literacy in Information Communication Technology (ICT) should be an integral part of the educational process and should be integrated into the curriculum at all levels of studies in tertiary institutions. The objective should be to empower Nigerian youths (graduates) with the information technology skills needed for performance in both workplace and private life.
Verbal and written communication should be introduced as a course and be made compulsory for all programmes in the tertiary institutions. This will improve youth communication skills.
Also, courses that are not marketable in the present day labour market due to their irrelevance to the present situation of the society should be faced out in tertiary institutions. Emphasis should be placed on marketable courses and self-employable courses; this should be a function of national development expectation.
The curricula of tertiary institutions have to be built around opportunity and initiative, persistence, commitment to work contracts, demand for efficiency and equality, risk taking, goal-setting, information seeking, systematic planning and monitoring, persuasion and networking, independence and correction factors.
In addition to above, tertiary institutions are also being expected to update their infrastructural facilities, retain their best students as lecturers and improve their funding so that youths (graduates) would be sufficiently equipped with appropriate knowledge, skills and attitude for effective participation in a very competitive global society.
In expanding employment opportunities for youths, the government should ensure that the economy is well diversified and proper attention; funding and management are accorded to other sectors that can create employment especially self-employment other than oil and gas sector.
The provision of education is productive investment in human capital, which is a stock of skills and knowledge acquired through schooling, the greater the stock of human capital in society and consequently, the increases in national productivity and economic growth. Thus, investment in human capital is a function of the potency of labour force to contribute meaningfully to growth of Gross National Product (GNP).
As President Franklin D. Roosevelt had stated, “Not only our future economic soundness of our democratic institutions depends on the determination of our government to give employment to idle men”. Government have a very big role to play by encourage self-employment by providing policies and laws that give youths the power for exploits. The small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) should be encouraged in finance; provision of loans, machines etc., advise; through productive programmes, seminars and setting up of “SME consulting board” that will see to the establishment and growth of SMEs.
In promoting youth self-employment, government should concentrate on those activities where youth are known to have more comparative advantage. Globally, modern information and communication technologies are offering significant opportunities for job creation. The Nigerian government should therefore explore how the ICT industries can provide new jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for the youth. They could then take advantage of these exploration activities to mobilize the energies of the youth from destructive tendencies to productive people.
The government should ensure that the policy measures be strictly adhere to by encouraging the various financial institutions to grant soft loans to potential and prospective youths entrepreneurs in order to encourage small scale businesses.
Youths that are self-employed should enjoy certain benefits over those working for others so as to make self-employment attractive. These benefits should include; tax reduction, social security, independence, control, freedom from work depression, improved standard of living, prestige, dignity, pride and ability to manage their time.
Conclusively, no nation will have a prospect of measurable development or of improving the welfare of its people unless it expands the opportunity of employment for its youths through self-employment. It is obvious that unemployment impedes youth’s progress in many ways and that self-employment is the only way out of the situation. From the points raised above, one can easily induce that if self-employment is considered imperative for the expansion of youth employment, the nation will not only be highly buoyant and respected among developing nations but be peaceful and developed. In order to tackle unemployment in Nigeria, there is the need to counsel the unemployed for attitudinal re-orientation towards self-employment and self –reliance.

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Afroconomist

Afroconomist

Telling stories of Africa; her economics, history and politics | Bridging economic gaps by scaling traditional ideas & businesses with tech.

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