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The latest white-collar job in town

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“Go learn a skill”! “Don’t wait for white-collar jobs because they are no longer available, before you know it you will become the latest shop owner then realize you never needed a job”. These are the exact word of many parents to their children nowadays.

Before the outbreak of the novel Corona Virus, Nigeria was already one of the countries with a huge population of unemployed graduates as it had over fifteen (15) million graduates. With three-point one (3.1) million companies registered under the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), which is not even up to a quarter of total unemployed graduates. This little statistic shows how cumbersome and very competitive Nigeria’s labour market is for any graduate planning to get into this country.

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After the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, the rate of unemployment hiked from twenty-three percent (23%) to thirty-five percent (35%). Businesses were forced to shut down as a result of the virus; most organizations began retrenching staff due to low profit or sales. Companies weren’t recruiting new staff, rather they were reducing them because they couldn’t keep up with having to pay all their staff every month. In fact, government organizations aren’t left out as they weren’t recruiting at all, yet students kept on graduating thus making the already existing problem of unemployment worsen.

This is where the part of entrepreneurship and individual skills learnt comes to play its role adequately. There are so many skills to learn today such as saloon, make-up, catering, baking, fashion design, event planning, trading and so many more. All these are what make up the word “Entrepreneurship”.

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Entrepreneurship is all about being a calculative risk-taker, being confident, reliable, and most of all sustainable. We have come to an era where youths should no longer wait to get jobs, every individual has to look out for their unique talents and skills, build them to become a passion and a source of income for themselves. Business can sometimes be rosy especially when you find the right business, the right customers, and confidence. It can also be extremely emotionally exhausting and depressing because not every time is your lucky day to make sales. There are days you wouldn’t sell anything at all, and if you are the kind of person that sells on credit, when you begin calling your debtors you will almost burst into tears because they are not willing to pay.

Remember, entrepreneurship is not for the lazy, scared fragile minds. It is for the strong, patient, confident and persistent. As much as people advise youths to venture into business frankly speaking, I don’t hear them give the same energy in telling them the other side of it so as to emotionally prepare them for what is to come in the future. Basically, when advising these individuals to start up a business for survival and self-reliance, it is important to sensitize them to the other negative aspect of a business enterprise in order to prepare them for the unforeseen hurdles they are yet to encounter in their business venture.

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Workshops and seminars should be organized for people. It should focus on teaching them how to start up a successful and sustainable business, how to be financially conscious to avoid overspending and running bankrupt. Many people started their businesses but didn’t succeed due to improper planning, lack of in-depth information on the business, and lack of coaching on ways to go about it.

I think the government should look into more advanced methods of empowering youths aside from financial means alone. Empowering them with a start-up capital without a prior lecture on how to kickstart a business mostly results in failure or temporary success. Having an initiative that will work side by side with any monetary empowerment scheme will go a long way because as soon as they are qualified for empowerment, they should undergo some training and lectures that will guide them through their venture then financial empowerment can follow immediately. If this process is followed diligently there would be more positive and permanent record of successful businesses. Have you ever wondered why every year a new empowerment scheme evolves or why the Npower, Trader Moni, NYIF, and the likes only survive at the early stage but slowly crashes? It is because most of them are focused only on the monetary aspect alone, they think providing startup capital will suffice.

Majority of the schemes are short-termed and failed projects because they have no sustainability plan which is wrong. You can’t have an empowerment scheme that isn’t long-termed or doesn’t have any clear and feasible focus on sustainability. It is important that after empowering youths, there should be a committee that will go for monitoring and evaluation of every successful candidate on a quarterly basis and reports should be written. This will enable the government to see the value of their projects and also know where there are faults or areas to put more consideration and focus on. With this being done, I can boast that youths will smile again. In fact Nigeria’s economy will be getting robust and the unemployment level will drastically decline.

Hassan wrote from Zaria.
(Zeeaug16@gmail.com)

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