‘Career fair will connect 10,000 job seekers to 250 employers’
With plans to train five million young Nigerians in employability skills and link three million to jobs by 2025, Chief Executive Officer of Jobberman Nigeria, an online training and job placement website, and Managing Director, ROAM Africa Jobs, Hilda Kragha, in this interview with Gloria Nwafor, speaks on how the company will host the largest virtual career fair this month-end.
What is the virtual career fair coming up at the end of the month all about?
The virtual career fair perfectly encapsulates Jobberman’s commitment to alleviating the strains of unemployment and employability, by connecting thousands of qualified candidates to reputable employers, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
As an innovative and technologically-driven company, I am delighted to say that we were able to find a solution to this immediate and challenging issue, by creating this first-ever virtual space of opportunity for both employer and candidate. The one-day virtual career fair will be centred on how to navigate the increasingly competitive job space and provide the necessary tools to get hired, with one-on-one interviews between candidates and employers and sessions on CV preparation master classes.
As part of our #Champions campaign, 250 potential employers from various sectors including digital, agriculture, and creative, and 10,000 highly qualified candidates will come together under one virtual roof for this event. Our goal is to have all 10,000 people to be in jobs and people that come to the fair, we plan how we will ensure we get them connected. We strongly encourage signing-up. We partnered with the Mastercard Foundation to train five million young people in critical employability skills, out of which three million would be linked to jobs by 2025.
What role is Jobberman playing to motivate the workforce considering the redundancy factor hitting the Nigerian economy?
As unemployment and underemployment reach an all-time high in Nigeria at over 40 per cent due to the pandemic, the search for jobs has become an overcrowded marketplace, with 18-35-year-olds mostly impacted. If you want young people to have access to dignified work opportunities, you have to do three things in tandem.
First, is relevant and accurate training, second is democratic access to a job, and third is private sector markets that are going to hire people. On the training aspect, we have launched our soft curriculum with core parts on adaptability, resilience, and agility, which covers aspects of innovation, creativity, and idea generation. We want every young person who works with us in our 2.5 million databases and is still growing to actually be best paired to enter in the world of work when the opportunity comes.
On democratic access to jobs, all we have done is to make it for free. We are now considering growth in the sense that even though some MSMEs don’t have projects to include, it will be an opportunity for young people to get access to get recruited. For employers, we know that their biggest concern is to hire the right person, that is why we have been able to introduce things like a competency-based assessment to streamline and get better quality candidates.
What are the major requirements for employers and employees to be a part of the career fair?
The online event is part of Jobberman’s mandate to use its soft skills training to place three million young Nigerians in dignified and fulfilled employment in the next five years. The ongoing online training programme equips young people between 18-35 years with critical tools including business etiquette, emotional intelligence, and more, to help transition into their new roles and increase workplace productivity. The career fair is free to all candidates who have completed the online programme and passed the end of the course assessment test. For those who are interested in coming to the career fair, there is ongoing training right now.
If any person is interested in coming into the career fair, you can sign up to take all the classes and assessments which measures your improvement in soft skills, and once you get your certificate you can attend the career fair. That is for the employees and job seekers. For employers, you must have a vacancy for you to hire and also have skills assessment which would be used to assess the potential candidates that you are interested in.
Who are your target employers and companies?
Companies mainly from agri-tech, digital, and creative sectors with operations in Lagos, Kano, and Kaduna will be in attendance to showcase their brands and company cultures. Employers already listed on the Jobberman platform are able to sign-up for free for the event, and are required to commit to hiring within three months of the fair. However, it is possible that there are people from other states who might want to attend and we can’t stop them, but our major focus is Lagos, Kano, and Kaduna. With over a decade in the recruitment business, Jobberman is using its platform and network to create democratic and transparent opportunities that eliminate nepotism, enabling a more productive workforce. Prospective employers and candidates can register to attend the Virtual Career Fair.
Given that many jobs in the country are in the informal economy, are there plans in the future to get employers that provide gig opportunities?
On our platform currently, two of the biggest doors that are opened are actually those who are looking for gig workers across all 36 states. There is a mindset gap to be reached between working and the opportunities it presents, and also the thinking that young people believe that job security comes from a month to month job. So one of the things we are doing is to educate these young people and let them know that all they need to gather is the work experience and that permanent jobs may not be coming right now, but they should know that they are increasing their capabilities and growing their skills.
How often do you organise this career fair?
This is the first one and there is going to be a lot of learning for us. In a perfect world, there should be a career fair in every quarter, accounting for when people leave university. As we plan to have this in September, we also plan to have another one in January 2021. While we work on this, we will set a standard for the next one.