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Expert blames graduate unemployment on lack of soft skills



A puzzled unemployed graduate. Image source campusdelight

A puzzled unemployed graduate. Image source campusdelight

The inability of most graduates of tertiary institutions in Nigeria to secure jobs has been hinged on absence of required soft skill needed for the employee to cope within the workplace.

The Chief Operating Officer, Supreme Management Training and Consultancy Services Limited, Dr. (Mrs.) Olubisi Fasuyi,at the opening of a three day Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) Orientation and Employability Training for graduate interns and firms’ representatives conducted by her firm, said that the problem, typical of higher education in Nigeria and some other countries is that life skills such as emotional intelligence, problem solving, decision-making, proactive skill-set, reflective and critical thinking, interpersonal and teaming skills, effective communication, sound character, integrity and high level personal ethics, self-esteem, self–discipline, managerial skills, and abilities that translate ideas to desired results are rarely taught as part of higher education curriculum.

Fasuyi said organizations around the world recognize that, in order to gain a competitive advantage, they also need to make sure their team knows how to handle themselves at work and how to relate with their clients and peers.

According to her, the phenomenon of graduate unemployment as it is being experienced constitutes a peculiar problem to labour market and the general economic development of Nigeria.

She noted that employers want their graduate recruits to be competent technically in their chosen field adding that they also want them to come out of school well equipped with complementary life skills and with a measure of post-graduate professional experience.

She however, wondered where a graduate would acquire experience when he/she has never been offered employment, internship or volunteer opportunities.

She praised the Federal Government for initiating the GIS through the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment programme (SURE-P) which not only gave the interns the opportunity to assess organisations and establishments that might never have given them the opportunity to acquire professional skills, but also availing them the opportunity to bridge the gap between the skill-set would-be employers require in graduate-recruits and the often inadequate skill-set which the average graduate possesses, with this employability training.

The Director, GIS, Mr. Peter Papka, earlier said Apart from the structured mentorship the interns receive from their employers, GIS conducts orientation training to provide interns with the skills they need to function properly in the workplace and prepare them to better appreciate some life requirements essential towards fulfilling destiny.

He said one of the objective of GIS was to bridge the gap between school and labour market and to provide the graduates with something to do and a means of livelihood while they continue their job search.

According to him, during the period of internship, interns have a chance to build a platform and network on which their future will rest. This, to a large extent, depends on not just the skills and experience they acquire, but also the personal commitment that they exhibit in applying themselves to what they are learning

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