Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Enugu State Commissioner for Labour and Employment, Mr Chika Ugwuoke, has emphasised the need for youths to develop essential skills that would enable them grow their careers.
He said the state was partnering different institutions to reduce youth unemployment in Enugu.
Ugwuoke disclosed this during a Job Career and Employability Fair/Business Clinic organised by Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) in collaboration with Barnabas Hope Foundation, in Enugu.
Other partners are 7up Bottling Company, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, Juhel Pharmaceutical Company, COPEN Services Limited, National Pension Commission and many others.
The theme of the programme was “Promoting Employability, Skills/Business Development Are Decent Work In South-East.”
Ugwuoke said the unemployment rate in the state was close to 40 per cent adding that the government was liaising with institutions to reduce the rate drastically.
He described unemployment rate in the country as challenging and on the increase, while businesses were closing down and “Japa Syndrome,” the order of the day.
Ugwuoke noted that job seekers were higher than the job givers, saying “What employers are looking for are youths who have passion, energy, committed, team spirit and are ready to add value to an organisation.
“Employers are desperate to engage youths but are looking for those who are best qualified.
“Enugu State Government is partnering Bank of Industry, National Directorate of Employment and many private institutions to ensure that our youths get jobs.”
The Director-General of NECA, Mr Adewale Onyerinde, said the training was part of the organisation’s Corporate Social Responsibilities of ensuring that Enugu youths got the needed skills for employment.
Onyerinde represented by a NECA Staff, Okpowhor Chikwudi, said the theme for the training reflected their commitment to combat unemployment, mitigate labour migration and address brain drain issues in Nigeria.
“As an umbrella body representing private sector, we serve as the leading voice of businesses in Nigeria and continually strive to close skill gap and champion employability skills programmes,” he said.
Also speaking, the Executive Director, Barnabas Hope Foundation, Mrs Chinelo Chime, said there were employments but many graduates were not employable as they do not possess those skills needed by the employers.
The director general, represented by Dr Ike Chime, COPEN Secretary, listed globalisation, socio economic factors on productivity, technology, dominance of private sectors as some of the factors hindering graduates from getting employed.
“If an employee in an organisation cannot handle certain tasks well, an employer may hire someone from another country, adding that any employee with low technological impact has done himself a lot of disservice,” he said.
The Programme Lead of Barnabas Hope Foundation, Gloria Chime, added that the job fair was an event where unemployed youths could learn necessary prerequisite on how to package curriculum vitae and sell themselves and become employable.
She explained that it offered business and organisations an opportunity to collect data of Nigerians seeking for job, sharing opportunities with them with hope to absorb those who were employable.
She also said the foundation was a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) under the umbrella of Amadeo initiatives.