Ibrahim Oyedeji: Making a living after school hours
Hardening to his father’s talk about skill acquisition and the need to be an employer of labour, instead of a job seeker, Ibrahim Oyedeji agreed to follow the footprints of his father and learn his trade — vulcanizing on part-time.
The 15-year-old Junior Secondary School (JSS) II student of Ikotun High School, Ikotun, had to be with his father, to learn the technicalities of the trade. Having learned the ropes, the teen vulcanizer began to handle minor jobs, but today, two years after, he can handle bigger jobs with the dexterity of an experienced hand.
“ It took me some time to understand what my dad was talking about when he said I should combine my studies with a trade, but now I am into it, I am grateful for the idea. It has helped me to plan my life and studies.
“The training lasted for six months; maybe, it was because my father was in charge, I learned fast and before long I began to handle minor jobs in his absence. I can mend any tyre — bicycles, cars, motorcycles among other things,” he said.
Recalling his experiences, Ibrahim disclosed that it was tedious, especially as it prevented him from playing with his peers because he had to join his father immediately he returned from school and had to be with him till later in the day when he closed shop. Not regretting the pains and denials, he disclosed that having skills would keep many youths away from trouble and give them sense of direction in life.
With plans to continue his education up to the tertiary level, Ibrahim said with the level of knowledge and money he makes, he can comfortably settle his tuition fees and still contribute to his family upkeep.
Commenting on his take home, he said: “The job is paying, but whatever I make augments what my father brings home for the family upkeep and also for my studies.”
Knowing that he is fit to handle serious jobs, the father leaves the workshop for Ibrahim whenever he returns from school. According to the teen vulcanizer, his father does another job and so, he has to take care of the workshop and handle all jobs. Even when his father is around, Ibrahim joins him to make it faster.
On a relationship with clients, Ibrahim said, “ There is no lack of it because they believe in me. I give them good service, tell them what to do to keep their vehicles in shape and do not cut corners.”
The JSS II student who went professional in 2017 revealed that he leaves school 3.30pm every day and gets to his workshop by 4 pm, adding that he does not retire for the day until 8 pm.
According to him, he makes out time for his studies. He noted that with his young age he could combine formal education with his part-time job, especially when it is a job that gives him joy just like vulcanizing.
“I am 15, I am still young and at my age, I can combine different things at once. Vulcanizing is fun to me; it is like catching fun with my mates. I do the work with ease. I communicate with clients and make money. So, I have time for my studies and for the job.
“I still have time to do my school homework and read for my exams. It is a matter of planning and keeping to one’s plans. At weekends and holidays, I give more time to the job,” he said.
On how his schoolmates and friends perceive him sporting grease-stained cloth after school hours, Ibrahim said there is no shame in moneymaking. According to him some of his friends come to learn from him; they hang around while he works.
“I amproudtodowhatIam doing, irrespective of the grease. I am proud to give a helping hand to my father and family, to toe my father’s line of business, whichIhopetorunina bigger way later in life,” he said.
Advising other teens, Ibrahim said youths should endeavour to acquire skills alongside formal education, saying this would make them be less dependent on government, be a job creator and employer of labour.