Schooling doesn’t guarantee employment, but having a skill does. Having a skill guarantees way more than employment – It guarantees a lifestyle; a decent living.
A unique advantage of acquiring a skill is that you do not need to have a genius-level IQ to develop a marketable skill, and you can be the best in almost any skill you put your mind to develop. All it takes is to have the right support and commitment to success.
In Nigeria, the average youth is labelled lazy, and this is something that is far from being true. What is wrong, however, is the lack of youth-friendly policies and the right environment to support youth and their entrepreneurial ventures.
Regardless of the lack of adequate youth-friendly policies, there are many platforms providing individuals with the means to develop their skills.
You should know that developing new skills take a lot of willpower, practise, and persistence; in the end, you will be a better person having economically viable skills.
When you find an opportunity to enrol in any youth-focused skills acquisition program, you should be at your best and learn. You don’t have your entire life to learn new skills.
Some Youth Focused Programs In Nigeria
There are some laudable private and government-funded youth-focused skills acquisition programs in Nigeria. Some of the most popular are:
- NEDC ICT Resource Training Program
- Youth Empowerment Nigeria (YEN)
- Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs Empowerment Nigeria (AYEEN)
- LEAP Africa
- Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC)
- Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) Programme
- MSME Survival Funds
Here are some tips to aid your chances of success at the interview stages.
What Interviewers Are Looking For:
Always be at your best during the interview stages. The interviewers are looking for the following in you:
i. Your Eligibility For The Program:
Each empowerment program sponsored by either any government, a private company or individual has specific objectives and eligibility requirements. It is important that you find out and understand these requirements and how they affect you.
ii. Your Suitability For The Program:
Again, your ability to understand what the program’s goals are is key to your success at the interviews. I would normally read why the program was established and how my participation in the program can help meet the organizer’s objectives.
The NPower of the Nigerian government for example intends to fix inadequate skills at the public services and stimulate the larger economy. It, therefore, means that what the interviewers would focus on are candidates with very high chances of filling vacancies that exist in the public service such as teachers, etc.
for example, focuses on rebuilding the Northeast part of the country by developing ICT skills in youths resident in the Northeast. The goal of the program is to build demand-driven skills with the expectation that successful candidates would, in turn, establish businesses in the Northeast, thus meeting the demand for such skills and in turn rejuvenate the economy.
It, therefore, means that to be successful, you must show some willingness and ability to start a business after your training.
iii. Your level of productivity and Program Fit
As a facilitator of some of these skills acquisition programs, I can authoritatively inform you that it helps if you display some level of business enterprise. I have been fortunate to interview well over 5,000 candidates of various skills/ empowerment programs and what strikes me is that most youths have a bias that makes them believe that unless you are gainfully employed either by the government or any other company, that they aren’t productive – I’m just an ordinary farmer, tailor, etc is what you’d hear them say.
I’ve met with some youths that engage in farming but believe that they are not “Doing anything”. I’ve seen many skilful tailors that believe they are “Not doing anything”.
Suggested Read: 5 Mentalities Nigerian Youth Must Drop To Succeed
Most Nigerian youths want to access government funds, grants and loans even if it would not be put to good use – All they want is their own share of the “National Cake”.
The “Starting small takes too much time.” mentality I have conversed with a lot of Nigerian youth and the mentality of not wanting to start small is common. Some believe that starting small is time-consuming. These youth see the benefits that starting small can bring, and yearn for the fruits without the growth process. Some will rather dodge meaningful things that take patience to grow.
Here are some tips to help you get the best out of any skills acquisition program.
i. Make sure a lack of talent is not your excuse
It is no doubt that talents help a lot, but you cannot be talented in everything. If you do not have a knack for the skill you are learning, it doesn’t mean that you can not be good at it. When you are determined and committed, you can achieve anything that you put your mind to doing.
Hard work beats talent all the time, and with the hard work you will put into any skills acquisition program, you will develop more persistence, willpower, and stamina.
The good thing about being untalented is that you will know how much it takes to learn the new skills and you will always want to get the best out of it.
ii. Get a coach or a mentor
Getting a mentor or coach is one of the most astonishing patterns when it comes to learning a new skill. However, do not just find anybody but someone good at their job and makes sure they possess the skill you are learning at the moment.
You can go through the track records of this individual to ensure that they have been successful with what they are taking another group of people through.
iii. Find a role model
Besides getting yourself a coach, you can get a role model to look up to and analyze their success after achieving the skill you are learning.
Apart from being a motivating factor, learning from a role model will speed up your skill acquisition process.
This also gives you a challenge that if a role model could get it done, then so can you.
One sure way to learn from a role model is to watch their videos, read and listen to their interviews, and examine how their road to success started. Look for similarities with yours and learn how they made it out successfully.
iv. Create realistic expectation when learning a new skill
Acquiring a new skill is possible for everybody, but disappointment can demotivate you so fast. Having unrealistic expectations makes you start falling behind your expectations soon, and eventually, you will quit from the program.
Some people will give excuses to miss training without knowing that they are the ones losing.
Other Tip To Help You Stay Focused on a Skills Acquisition Program
- Commitment in terms of time and finance
- Do not miss any session
- Have a coach to help you through the program
- Look up to someone who has succeeded using this skill before
- Dedicate your time and finance
- Be smart
- Do a lot of practice
- Get someone to coach you at home
To sum up, skill acquisition is a possibility and only requires little of your effort. However, some people will acquire the skill fast while others acquire it slowly. It is important to know the category you are in and decide how to improve yourself. Getting the best out of a skill acquisition program should be the dream of every individual because this will help you build your life early enough.
Remember – Skills Building Takes A Process and That Process Takes Time.