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Experts task youths on acquisition of employability skills

By Benjamin Alade
21 May 2019   |   4:11 am
While technology is leading to a more efficient and effective ways of doing things, experts have expressed concerns that growing automation would lead to job losses.

While technology is leading to a more efficient and effective ways of doing things, experts have expressed concerns that growing automation would lead to job losses.

They said while new jobs were being created, some are being phased out.

Experts who gathered in Lagos at a forum organised by Knowledge Exchange Centre (KEC), a non–profit organisation said youths need to prepare themselves for evolving work of the future.

Founder, KEC, Charles Nwodo, said in some sectors, technology had led to job losses as it substituted humans with robots.

While the advent of intelligent technology in the workplace has helped companies to increase efficiency and drive competitiveness, which has helped boost economic growth, Nwodo however noted that a large percentage of jobs were at risk of automation, meaning Nigeria could experience major job losses.

He said increasing investment in intelligent technologies and human-machine collaboration are going to raise unemployment levels as automation is replacing human tasks and jobs and changing the skillsets that organisations are looking for.

He expressed fear that youths are not making efforts to improve themselves competitively in the face of the disrupting impact of technology on employment opportunities.

He said job types that constitute a modern economy continue to evolve, there is a need to upgrade skills required to do them.

He said in many areas of work, the labour market is now global, adding that multi-national corporations seek the best talents around the world to work for them in the country.

He advised workers to prepare themselves to compete on a global scale for jobs, adding that digital technologies have removed geographical barriers, adding that global labour surplus makes competition among workers even fiercer.

To meet the challenge, he said it was important to review the education system for preparing, educating, training and retraining the current and future workforce to keep up with the pace of digital transformation.

Regional Representative, Ford Foundation, Innocent Chukwuma, said the nation’s young workforce is a key factor for success in today’s economy. Young entrepreneurs, he said, contribute to the economy and make the country prosperous.

Stressing the importance of boosting human capital, Chukwuma said with an estimated inflow of $25 billion remitted by Nigerians in Diaspora last year, Nigerians living outside the country are the country’s biggest export.

Chukwuma noted that unemployment is one of the most pressing concerns among young people, adding that tackling youth unemployment goes beyond skills training, but requires strategic partnerships in research and training between universities and incentives to spur youth entrepreneurship.

Lagos State Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment Mrs Uzamat Akinbile, said the state is concerned about the massive production of graduates with degrees and skills that have limited practical use in the job markets.

Akinbile who was represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs Raji Abidemi said the massive mismatch between graduate skills and job market needs often leads to under-employment of university graduates.

To avoid creating more unemployed or unemployable graduates, she said the state government is initiating curriculum reform geared towards entrepreneurial skills and jobs.

She said the state government has established linkages with the private sector on skills building to empower graduates to compete for jobs.

She said the state has established job registration centres to act as a bridge between industry and graduates looking for employment.

KEC Executive Secretary, Maria Glover said skills shortage is a harrowing problem in the country.

She explained that the centre runs various job readiness meant to place graduates into full-time jobs, adding that participants receive skills training in collaboration, critical and creative thinking, communication and supported with the personal skills and tool sets required to succeed in the modern workplace.