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Expert tasks young people on productivity at workplace

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British Retail Consortium recently indicated that automation is likely to put a third of a million retail employees out of work in the next few years.

Every year, Nigerian graduates gallop into the country’s protruded labour base, and often time get frustrated in the process. Jobberman, a leading recruitment agency in West Africa, put the number of graduates in tertiary institutions annually at 500,000. However, while these set of people lament paucity of job opportunities, the employers at the other end complain about the “unemployable” status of most Nigerian graduates.

At a two-day work conference 2020 organised by 1st CRT Management Services in collaboration with the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, tagged: Rethinking Education and the Future of Work, acting commissioner of the ministry Mrs. Solape Hammond, who was represented by the Director of Employment, Mrs. Iyabo Seriki-Bello charges the youths on being relevant at the workplace.

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According to her, to be ready for future work, an employee must posses the skills needed to be relevant at the present workplace.“Then, we should ask ourselves if our youths and graduates of tertiary institutions are equipped with these skills needed in the structured work environment.”

She added that the skills needed to survive on the job are far from what people learnt while in schools, stressing that a degree is no longer sufficient to be indispensable at work, “the reason for the theme.”Mrs. Hammond bemoaned that though unemployment is high in the country, there are job vacancies in many organisations to be taken up by qualified individuals.

He, however, noted that many youths who are job seekers lack possession of employability skills, mismatch between demand for labour and the ability of applicants and lack of information on job existence.

The acting commissioner also identified outdated school curricula, which lack entrepreneurship skills content to prepare graduates for self-employment and Nigerian economy weakness to absorb large numbers of graduates as a major problem that needs to be tackled in the country.

She therefore stated that preparing young people for the present and future work challenges call for a review of the system, noting that the current model of education, career planning and job searching need a facelift.

“Considering the dynamism in the global labour market, workers need not wait till the shift arise before learning and teaching the new rules of success, this requires the workforce to be proactive and strategic in thinking.”

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She also identified Critical thinking, reasoning and creative skills, passion for achievement and success, value, skill, emotional intelligence, decision making, problem solving and resourcefulness, team work skill, managing expectation; time management, expertise and curiosity as skills vital to young people’s relevance on the job and readiness for future work.

“Above all, preparing young people for future work must give recognition to the wave of technological breakthroughs. We cannot fight innovation or disruption, what we can do is to change with time to be relevant.

“Every field in life is open to revolutionary transformational development. Robotics and Artificial Intelligence are eating jobs at an alarming rate. It is frightened when you think about what machines can take away from us; however, they have the potentials to make our lives better.

“Pattern recognition software for instance would be much more skillful in diagonising some diasases than human doctors, integrating renewable energy will also help farming in a more environmentally friendly way.”He noted that to be superior in any field, there was need for mastering of the right skills, “because you don’t want machine to retire you earlier than planned.”

Mrs. Hammond added that the goal of equipping Lagosians, most importantly the youths in the state for the new, global, digital economy as well as the skill of the future is at the peak of the agenda of the Sanwo-Olu administration.

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She urges the youths to improve on their virtual collaboration skills. “Spending every day in an office is no longer a necessity. Ability to use tools and resources to communicate with team members from different locations is now important than ever. Many multi-national companies such as Apple, Amazon, Dell, IBM, are embracing remote workers and virtual collaborations.“Digital and media literacy will be paramount; ability to make connections and engage audience across vast different networks and interpreting social data.

“Boost inmate creative intelligence skills, ability to create cannot be toppled by machine. Artificial Intelligence will develop creative ideas but human will still be in charge of most creative industries. Focus on learning how to do tasks that still needs humans.”

For the Chief Executive Officer of 1st CRT, Folayomi Olaitan, there is an urgent need for every youth to create a major balance between education and emerging changes in work to meet up with the reality of future contingencies.She stressed that the future is here and therefore the younger generation must take up responsibilities for their lives.

According to her, given the fact that the world has become a global market and complexities in human endeavours are created over the years as a result of evolving ideas, knowledge and innovation, there is need for a new mindset for the Nigerian youth.“An economy based on knowledge will be termed a spiral one as it increases productivity. Knowledge shows the pivotal role of education and training in modern society.

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“In our contemporary society, it is generally conceived that after education, and training the next step is work. This work is complex and dynamic in nature. Everyday university graduates employed are poised with new challenges (either simple or complex). These challenges most times are beyond the graduate’s experience and strength leading to the problem of lay off or resignation.”

She lamented that many graduates found it difficult to adapt to working condition in organization because of an unusual exposure to a different environment, task and idea.

“This phenomenon us entirely different from the initial training given in educational institutions as most Nigerian schools do not introduce students to workplace problems and other practical issues in workplace, thereby posing a threat towards settling into organization at the end of study.”

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