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Helping Students To Choose Future Careers


A cross section of the students who participated in the mentoring programme by Grow With Nigeria in Lagos recently. 		           PHOTO:DEBO OLADIMEJI

A cross section of the students who participated in the mentoring programme by Grow With Nigeria in Lagos recently. PHOTO:DEBO OLADIMEJI

SIXTY one students from four secondary schools in Lagos – Queen’s College, Yaba; Federal Science and Technical College, Yaba; Yaba College of Technology Secondary School and King’s College, Lagos went through a training/ mentoring programme called Summer Stem Field Experience 2015, organized by Grow With Nigeria, a non-government organisation (NGO) based in the United States (US)to help the students choose future careers.

The science students were taken to Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba during the two-and-half days programme where they visited about five key operation centres, including the dialysis centre. The third day was meant for career development at Queen’s College and the students brought their parents.

Ayomide Animashaun, 16, a Senior Secondary School (SS2) student of Federal Science and Technical College said he has made up his mind to become a cardiologist. “The way the heart functions makes sense to me. I have learnt how to communicate with people socially. How to ask questions in the public. I have learnt a lot of things from the doctors during the programme,” he said.

To Sylvanus Kizito, 14, an SS2 student of Yaba College of Technology Secondary School, the programme has helped him to learn how to apply first aid to victims.“I want to be a medical doctor, specifically a cardiologist. I am much clearer about my area of specialisation now ,” he enthused.

Okparanoue Adaobi 15, an SS2 student of Queen’s College said she has learnt about how different medical instruments are used. “The programme is for us to know what career to go into, not just do it because people want us to do it.”

Okafor Olisaemeka 16, an SS2 student of King’s College said that hitherto he wanted to become a mechanical engineer but has now changed his mind to become a doctor. “The way things are going, all these things they are teaching us really make sense. I want to become a doctor,” he beamed.

The Executive Director of Grow With Nigeria, Teminioluwa Ajayi, a medical student of Duke University School of Medicine, North Carolina, US recalled that he co- founded Grow With Nigeria with his colleague, Kerry Omogheli based in Texas, US.

“One thing that we discovered is that we can improve upon the learning model in Nigeria. When we went to school here in Nigeria, we discovered that students crammed everything and poured it down in an examination and after that they forgot.

“When we got to the US and we had an opportunity to actually do things with our hands, those things stuck better. We said that how about if we can take the model to Nigeria and give the students the opportunity to decide their right careers?”

He said that the programme is now three years old. “We had one programme in Texas last year. It was at that time that we decided that we are going to bring the programme to Nigeria. About 25 people participated last year.”

He said the programme has a lot of benefits for the students. “For me I think there are a lot of benefits. First of all, they get to understand the career aspect. That is why we are career clarifiers. We want to remove the mystery around certain careers. We want a student here to know what technology does in practical terms. Another thing which for me is probably the most important is that for the first time, they have an opportunity to interact with the professionals in their would-be careers.”

Senior Registrar, Department of Medicine, LUTH, Dr Usueni Azeberoje said: “I never had the opportunity to a programme like this. Nothing inspired me to actually think of becoming a doctor. Now the aim of all these is actually to catch them young. Introduce science to the students while they are still in their primordial or very young age. I think programmes like this should be put into the school curriculum for secondary school students.”

One of the resource persons of the programme, Chuba Ezekwesili said mentoring is really crucial. “Having an idea of what one wants to do does not just come from oneself. Many people don’t know what is the next step to take. They go to the university without any idea of what they are doing. This programme provides the resources, the people, personnel, the contact that they need, that are necessary to help the students to choose their careers.”

Founder of BAU R and D, Gossy Ikanwoke recalled that he left Nigeria to study in the US because he was not finding it easy to get admission into the university. “I came back to Nigeria like a month after I graduated. The first thing was that I had a commitment to come back. I already saw something that I could do when I graduate. Which is what I am doing now. ”

He added that education is not something one gets in the classroom alone. “We are encouraging the students to study more out of the classrooms. It is not just that one wants to study medicine. Are you learning how to work with other doctors? Communication, collaboration, such simple things are important. They are all the other things that add up together to the education in the US. I think that is missing here.”

Founder, Jobmag Centre, a youth capacity building centre situated in Yaba, Maureen Iyasele recalled that she studied at University of Birmingham in United Kingdom, (UK). “I studied Chemical Engineering. I was opportune to study in the UK probably because I was born there. I will say there are more opportunities and resources studying abroad. But it does not define you or limit you. That you did not study abroad does not mean that you cannot be who you want to be in life.”

Director of Communication for Grow With Nigeria, Ibukun Jayeola said the NGO was founded on the premise of helping students to clarify their career paths. “We target secondary school students in particular because by that time, they are still asking questions on how to choose the right career for themselves.”

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