Ladies and Gentlemen: It is an honour and pleasure to join the entire Skill For All Team in welcoming you to the SKILL FOR ALL ICT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOT CAMP PORT HARCOURT.
We are excited to present our organization, this and other events and would also use this chance to send some messages out.
Skill For All is a movement of people who take Poor Skills in Nigeria personally and are moved to do something about it. It is driven by young passionate and patriotic people. People who are willing to go out of their ways and comfort to make Skill Development open, accessible and free. We want to make sure people everywhere get the skills they need to advance themselves and the society they live in.
We know that The Right Skills Will Change Everything. We know that Skill development will reduce unemployment, raise income and improve standards of living. This believe became a call for action and this action became a movement. A movement to change everything. Because we know beyond any atom of doubt that the right skills will change everything.
The future of skills and work is one of the defining challenges of our time. How we manage this challenge will define the future of our nation and the world at large.
Skills make dreams happen. They build economies. They make people rich. In today’s world, the demands for skills are staggering. Government, business and individuals have too much to achieve, their goals are huge. They are constantly, looking for people with the right skills: People that can get the job done. This huge demand for skill has left every sector of the economy performing below capacity.
Nigeria as a country must change its priorities.
Not long ago, former American president, Barack Obama suggested that, “people can make a lot more by learning a trade than they might make with an art history degree”. before him, the late Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew had warned that “Poetry is a luxury a poor country cannot afford” – These two great leaders were pivotal, at different times, to the transformation of their countries. They understood something we need to understand now, and that is, Nigeria must be bold enough to face the fact that not all trainings or education are useful to us at this point in our development. Some are ridiculously lousy and wasteful of our time, money and intellectual capital. Education is a beautiful idea no doubt. It is perhaps the most beautiful thing, but what is more useful are the thoughtful and strategic kind of skills that our education must deliver on: One that is directed at solving real problems, as against one that encourages us to dwell in wishful thinking.
Ladies and gentle permit me at this junction to present that Nigeria’s problems lie in the type of training and education it dishes out to his youths. And the fact that, millions of young people are left idle after secondary school without a skill or trade.
Look around you; we have created a society where practical skills are perhaps the scarcest commodities. And yet we have millions of idle young people.
We struggle to find good hands in almost all areas. Mechanics constantly struggle with their trial and error approach, tailors damage fabrics, carpenters are not precise in their measurements, and fabricators hunt us with poor finishes. Go a bit higher and you see bankers in confusion, engineers only on papers, teachers teaching what they didn’t learn properly. Go further and you see our leaders more confused than their followers – not sure of what to do with the scarce human and material resources at their disposal. All of these are bound to leave us in a state of frustration where refineries cannot function due to lack of know-how at various levels, electricity cannot be generated because we don’t know how to and won’t allow the ones that do carry it out, house collapse here and there. The stories are endless. This reason for this sad reality is that people are not given the right skills.
Companies are looking for people to fill critical skill areas and millions of young people are looking for what to do with their energies, time and talent. Ladies and gentlemen, it is important that we all join hands to mend the disconnection.
There is a sad shortage of skills in Nigeria and it is the reason we are where we are. And yes, there is and always has been a leadership crisis but even that is a direct result of the lack of skills on several levels.
- One third of the working age population in Nigeria lack the basic skills required to get quality jobs, leaving them unable to achieve their full productive potential and limiting economic investment and growth.
- Over 60% of Nigerian graduates lack the technical skills they are expected to have before graduating.
- The challenge is further worsened by a rapidly changing global economy that increasingly requires workers to be innovative, flexible and adaptive. According to our calculations, more than 50 Million working-age adults are not equipped with the most essential literacy skills required by employers. Among young adults under the age of 25, the number is about 30 million nation wide.
- Foundational skills, such as literacy, provide critical platform for young people and are a prerequisite for numeracy, problem solving, and socio-emotional skills. Helping young people develop these skills makes economic sense. Unskilled workers are forced into unemployment or are stuck in unstable low-wage jobs that offer little career mobility or growth. As they age, they become increasingly vulnerable to job losses and labor market shocks.
- The results are devastating on a national level as well. Low skills reduce labor force productivity and make investment less attractive, decreasing the transfer of technology and “know-how” from high-income countries. Low skills also perpetuate poverty and inequality because the private sector can’t flourish in a country that doesn’t have a skilled workforce to sustain it.
Broadly, there are three types of skills:
One is Cognitive skills: cognitive skills include literacy and numeracy. They refer to the ability to understand complex ideas, adapt effectively to the environment, learn from experience, and reason.
The second is Socio-emotional skills. This refers to the ability to navigate interpersonal and social situations effectively and include leadership, teamwork, self-control, and grit.
The third and most critical are Technical skills. They refer to the required knowledge, expertise and interactions needed to perform a specific job, including the mastery of the materials, tools, or technologies.
This event is geared towards helping participants develop Technical Skills.
So many factors contribute to the shortage or lack of skills in Nigeria. The most profound is the worrying disconnection between education providers, policy makers and the society we live in. Policy makers develop education programmes for educators to give out without taking a sober look at what the present day society really needs and therefore wastes the time, money and effort of students. They allow them pursue courses and trainings that have no real life impact.
Recent empirical data shows that nearly 80% of employers blamed inadequate training for the shortfall in results. The result of poor training shows itself everywhere: one of the most elite government programmes in Nigeria is the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC), as it proudly projects the nation’s next batch of development implementers. Yet in October 2013, official figures from the NYSC lamented that 89% of corps’ members in the country that year could not write good letters in English language . This is just one example.
It is also reported that over three million jobs remain unfilled every year in Nigeria because job seekers lack the skills employers (public and private) need, In response, some organizations invite foreign talents. Others that can’t afford them and improvise and do shabby jobs. The rest close their doors. without an urgent remedy for this mismatch of demand and supply of skills, the unemployment rate will go even higher.
What can we do as a nation? We need to de-emphasise certain type of education and trainings and embrace the ones that have direct benefit. In the 19th and 20th century, apprenticeship was a common practice all-over the world. People were sent to shops and factories to learn through action, it helped develop the technologies and comfort the world now enjoys in the 21st century, but this method has become obsolete. What we should do as a nation, and urgently at that, is to introduce real-life modular systems that will help in the transfer of practical and useful skills at various levels in our education and training system. The idea lies in the development of practical skills that are needed for the building of our economy, military, government, etc. It is skills that build economies. This is what we need to do to move to the next level as a nation.
Government policies must promote equity in access to skill development. Across the world, investments in skill development—have high returns. We all know that people without skills end up doing manual Labour and manual Labour is both low paying and health impacting.
Many young people attend schools without acquiring basic literacy skills, leaving them unable to compete in the job market. More than 80 percent of the entire working age population in most Nigeria cannot infer simple information from relatively easy texts. The NYSC report as stated earlier is a pointer.
For every 100 students entering primary education, just 35 complete upper secondary school. The rest remain unaccounted for. Catching up later without foundational skills becomes nearly impossible. Indeed, evidence shows that second chance adult education programs have limited success and on-the-job training usually favors workers with more education and skills. Second-chance programs provide an important opportunity to get low-skilled youth back on track.
Ladies and Gentlemen:Skill for all’s mission is indeed Skill For All – for young and for old. For Men and Women. It is for workers and learners, just as much as it is for people who are not in education or employment.
Today is just the beginning. we count on your commitment in the coming days, months and years to put these ideas into motion and to deliver the change that will make the difference needed on the ground.
Our future depends upon people, upon skilled people. Our future depends on us.