In a country like Nigeria where Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) strike can last for 6 months, students attending public universities often spend longer than their required number of years in school. So most of them are always very eager to learn about finding jobs in Nigeria quickly after graduation. I remember vividly a particular year when students of colleges had to stay at home for more than six months because ASUU was on strike. Some students spent up to five years in school instead of four.. After graduation, a Nigerian student is expected to participate in the compulsory one year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) before seeking full-time jobs.
However, it is unfortunate that most students struggle to find jobs in Nigeria after NYSC. Many fresh graduates now sit at home doing nothing, while the ones that have funds to buy data service spend a lot of time on social media. The issue of unemployment and job unavailability has become a topic that is always on the front burner. Advocates posit that a student should have good opportunities to be gainfully employed after school and that government should facilitate these opportunities alongside the private sector.
It is sad that this is not the case in our dearest country Nigeria as the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige was quoted in December 2019 saying “it is projected that the unemployment rate for this country will reach 33.5 per cent by 2020, with consequences that are better imagined, if the trend is not urgently reversed.” This statement was made at a time when the COVID-19 global pandemic had not hit nations of the world and things seemed good. There’s no gain saying that the percentage would have increased as a result of COVID-19. What then is the fate of a Nigerian student? What does life after school hold for a student in terms of employment? In a country that churns out a large number of young people from its institutions every year, these are a few of the question that would pass through the mind of a student, most especially a final year student in wake of this.
Speaking at the 2020 Webinar series organized for students by Liberating Nigeria, an online political forum and jobs.delon.ng, a leading online jobs portal in Lagos where students can search for and get job placements, Debo Onifade, author of the book “Liberating Nigeria: A Guide to Winning Elections and Reviving our Country” urged Nigerian students to give it what it takes and gave tips to strategically place themselves for jobs.
He said students should better maximize opportunities online, he mentioned that students after graduation or even while in school can begin to earn from online services like content marketing, digital marketing, graphic designing, freelancing, copy writing, amongst others. He encouraged students to put themselves out online and put their abilities to work and get people to patronize them, he said they could do that for a start instead of staying idle at home. He also urged them to look out for job opportunities on online job portals like jobs.delon.ng where vacancies, job placements and other educative materials for job seekers are made available.
Onifade also advised that students take up volunteering and internship after school. He said the limited jobs available require people who have experience in the field and so to get these jobs students must have acquired experience which they didn’t get while in school. Unfortunately, some students do not want to pass through the phase of having to work for little or no pay, they just want to get out of school and get a job that pays thousands of naira which in most cases is not possible.
He said students have to be diligent enough to learn and gain experience at in their desired field by working for little or no pay. Students should approach organizations who are involved in their chosen field and request to work for experience sake, for example, a student or fresh graduate who wants a career in medicine and desires a job as a doctor is advised to approach a hospital and request for internship with little or no pay. He said as long as you can afford your transport and feeding you should gather experience with that and in cases where these costs are not affordable, you should try to get an organization closer to you, this is much more better than staying at home.
Many motivational speakers opine that students after school should go into entrepreneurship, set up a business and become a CEO, or like they put it become their own boss. Onifade however, discourages this, he said not everyone would succeed in entrepreneurship as not everyone has what it takes to be an entrepreneur, some people are meant to put their skills to work in an established organization as an employee, he cited examples of employees who are doing well in their fields and finding fulfillment.
Often times, these pro entrepreneurship motivational speakers have used the point that an employee will not succeed or make wealth while working for someone, they say that a person can only make wealth when he is an entrepreneur, this is not true because entrepreneurship is a great task that does not seem as simple as they put it and it is never advisable for a graduate to delve into entrepreneurship after school.
He further advised students to make use of the lockdown period well as schools are not reopening yet according to the rules of the government, he encouraged them to take the time to do other things that are quite helpful rather than waste it, he urged them to read, learn online, participate in webinars such as this and ensure that they become better than they were before the pandemic. For example, they can seize this opportunity to improve their CV writing skills.
Finally, students were also encouraged to stop being passive about politics and get involved by voting and learning about policies because the leaders we choose today can positively or negatively influence our education tomorrow.
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