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Experts charge youths to place competence over certificates



To reduce youth unemployment in the country and ensure greater efficiency in the workplace, chief executive officers (CEOs) and managers in Nigeria have advised young people to place higher premium on competence rather than credentials.

The chief executives gave the advice yesterday at a CEOs Summit on Youth Employment organised by the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) in Lagos.

Speaking on the theme: The Challenge of Skills Mismatch and the Role of CEOs in Tackling Youth Unemployment, Co-founder and CEO of WAVE, Misan Rewane, said Nigeria youths needed to know that more employers in country are no longer interested in certificates but competence.

Rewane said the youth needed to realise that they are not prepared for the workplace as the country’s educational system has failed them.

“What they must know is that most companies are even paying them to train them to enable them gain the requisite knowledge and experience,” she added.

She pointed out that some young people without certificate sometimes possess the requisite competence that employers look for and advised the youth to realise that having a degree does not necessarily translate to competence in the workplace.

She urged the youths to improve their productivity by taking advantage of online resources and other platforms.

Rewane noted that companies could socialise and build them up and charged other CEOs to collaborate and aggregate training for young people through internship.

She, however, pointed out that the Federal Government should pay special attention to secondary schools, saying a higher number of youth are found in the schools rather than in tertiary institutions.

The Human Resources Director of Nigerian Breweries Plc and panel moderator, Victor Famuyibo, wondered why CEOs and top managers of companies were not being invited to tertiary institutions to deliver lectures to students on what was expected of them at the workplace.

He also asked why lecturers were not visiting CEOs and managers to see the trend and changing systems the students are likely to be expose to after graduation.

Director and CEO, Leading Edge Consulting, Ije Jidenma in her contribution said the country should look at ways of refining the youth with high technical ability to ensure increase productivity in the country.

She added that the country needed all kinds of skills, especially people good with their hands to drive productivity.

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