Lagos State Government has revealed that its job initiative skills designed for final year students and those in penultimate classes is aimed at equipping students with essential skills that would make them relevant and their services essential in the labor market.
The State Government also disclosed that, through its Jobs Lagos Initiative (JLI), a total of 28,000 final year students and those in penultimate classes across all the State-owned Tertiary Institutions have been trained in different employability skills including; Entrepreneurship, Work Readiness tools, Soft Skills, Market Aligned courses, among others, to make them suitable for employment and be competitive in the global market.
Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Education, Barrister Tokunbo Wahab, who disclosed this during a Ministerial briefing in Alausa as part of the activities commemorating the 2nd year anniversary of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s administration in the State, stated that the initiative was part of measures put in place by the State Government as efforts to reduce unemployment rate in the State.
According to him, the jobs initiative programme of the State Government is aimed at preparing final year and penultimate students of tertiary institutions for immediate entry into the workforce as employees and employers of labour, by equipping them with the market-aligned knowledge, soft skills, business tools and the mind set reorientation in the world of work.
The Special Adviser explained that Governor Sanwo-Olu was worried by the growing rate of unemployment in the country and came up with the initiative, so as to help the youths develop their skills and break the barriers standing between them and job opportunities.
He revealed that as at the 3rd quarter of the year 2017, more than half of Nigeria’s nearly 185 million populace were fewer than 30 with youth unemployment standing at 33.10 percent.
While regretting that a large number of graduates turned out yearly by the nation’s institutions of higher learning lacked employability skills, Wahab explained that there was need to bridge the gap, so as to reduce the growing rate of unemployment rate, stressing that its attendant consequences was one of the reasons why the state government had not relented in building capacity and committing resources to skills acquisition and vocational development.
‘’Lack of employability skills exacerbates Nigeria’s unemployment problem. Not a few employers have complained about the skills mismatch in the employment market. They lament that graduates of our Institutions of higher learning come out lacking both technical and soft skills to fit into the workplace.”
He stated that going further, the Lagos State Government having realised this gap, sought the collaboration of the private sector to work with the Office of the Special Adviser on Education to develop a programme that would bridge the gap and empower its teeming young population and thereby, prepare them ahead for the work place challenges.
According to him, Loftylnc Allied Partners Limited (LAPL), was considered most suitable among the private consulting firms that showed interest to work with the State Government to bridge the gap and has been collaborating with the State Government to bridge the employability gap by providing training to the selected 28,000 youths across the selected eight higher institutions in the State in the areas of Entrepreneurship, Work readiness tools, Soft Skills and Market Aligned courses.
While giving credit to his predecessor in office, Mr. Obafela Bank-olemoh, for the initiative, Wahab explained that the present administration had widened the scope of the project, which made it possible for more people to benefit with the inclusion of those in penultimate classes.
On the Eko Digital initiative, Wahab explained that the State Government in partnership with Advent Management Solutions & Loftylnc Allied Partners, is leveraging on ICT to train and equip young students and pupils in Lagos Government-owned Primary and High Schools with requisite knowledge, skills and technical Know-how, that would enable them to thrive in the technology space in a couple of years.
‘’Eko Digital is a programme designed to benefit the students and pupils in Lagos State with the right coding and technology skills that will enable them compete successfully with their counterparts from any part of the world,’’ he stated.
According to him, the consultants have collaborated with the State Government to train over 120,000 students / pupils in 720 schools across the State in the areas of computer Basics, Scratch, and Use of internet, Cloud services, and World Wide Web designs, among other computer programming.