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ACCA decries high employability skills gap among job seekers



Association of Certified Chartered Accountants

The irony of job opportunities amid high unemployment rate has raised new concern for the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ACCA), which blamed the development on lack of employability skills.

According to the accounting body, there is a huge skills gap among job seekers adding that employability is not about certificates and grades, but the need for job seekers to acquire necessary skills.

To this end, the ACCA, in an effort to put the serving National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members to notice ahead of time, organised an employability seminar in Lagos, aimed at equipping them and encouraging the acquisition of entrepreneurial skills for post-service period.

The Country Head, ACCA, Mrs. Toyin Ademola, explained that the exercise was part of the association’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, aimed at addressing the observed challenge facing graduates in the country, as well as reduce the job rejection level, which can only be achieved by right skills.

She described the partnership with NYSC as strategic to the participants, adding: “One of the things we have set out to do for the corps members is to send their CVs to our partner recruitment agencies which will then advice the graduates on how best to draft CVs and also help them secure job interviews. It is now left for the corps members to defend themselves.”

“One of the key things we have noticed as a major hindrance to graduates in getting jobs, is because they are unemployable and not because there are no jobs at all. When employers of labour say things about employability, it is not only the paper certificate. Majority of these graduates are not qualified because they lack some of the basic qualities that appeal to any employer. It is a fact that in some places there job spaces waiting for the right candidate,” she said.

Citing an example, she noted that it a particular company took six months to recruit few persons, not because the job seekers were not coming, but those presenting themselves have no idea of the job requirement as well as poor disposition to interview session.

“When you go for an interview, it is an opportunity to sell yourself, and nobody else can do the other than you. So, even if it is your uncle or the president that recommended you to that employer, you have to be properly prepared for the interview.

“Some don’t even know that it is wrong to solicit handshake by stretching out hand first. Others appear unkempt, wear crested jeans, arrive late at interview venue, even have guts to call in late asking for venue and lack a simple knowledge of the company they are prospecting employment. There is a difference between stage fright and lack of confidence,” she explained to the gathering made up of over 3,000 youth corps members.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Human Capital Development Consultants, Mrs. Bisola Longe, in her presentation at the event, maintained that the basic to success is for job seekers to have vision- a clear decision of what he or she wants.

To her, a clear vision serves as a compass that would detail which part of career development to pursue, how and when, including what job opportunities to look out for.

“You must know where you are going. The people that succeed most in life create their own world. So, the best way for you to predict your future is to create it. You must have the right attitude,” she said.

While reiterating the need for the corps members to have vision, be determined and focused, she challenged them to be hardworking, saying, “Whether you are working for yourself or for an organisation, be energetic and always go the extra mile. Whenever you are selling yourself, you are selling your idea, your intelligence and your integrity. You must be confident about your ideas”.

According to her, efforts by ACCA ranging from yearly recruitment fairs in three geopolitical zones of the country to skills and training seminars to address the unemployment challenge in the country are yielding results.

“I think our efforts have contributed immensely to the employability ratio of graduates, though it might take a little longer before the overall impact becomes very visible. Remember we are in a country of over 170 million people that produces an estimate of 100,000 graduates yearly, and there is no way we can get in touch with every single graduate,” she added.

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