The younger generation said to be the leaders of tomorrow in most African countries seems not to have a tomorrow to look forward to due to unemployment and poverty, and as such, have taken solace in kidnapping, armed robbery, vandalism, prostitution, internet fraud, burglary, terrorism and other forms of social vices.
Most politicians feast on these to further exploit the youths and use them as political thugs to pursue their political ambitions.
Unemployment is a hot-button issue for governments at all levels, as the rating is used to determine economic stability and citizen satisfaction. The subset of the labor force that is willing to work but not working is a major point of call for any concerned government.
Lack of education and expertise have resulted in structural unemployment which by the definition of some economists, is an unemployment situation which arises due to a mismatch in the demographics of workers and the types of jobs available.
This happens mostly because the worker does not have the requisite skills or expertise. This form of unemployment is usually caused by a fundamental shift in the economy and exacerbated by extraneous factors such as changes in technology, competition and government policies.
The Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration in Edo State through its innovative and youth-friendly policies is changing this narrative.
Though job opportunities exist in the State, there has been a serious mismatch between what the employers need and what the workers can offer.
To address this challenge, the Obaseki administration initiated a series of rigorous trainings for youths across the three geopolitical zones to build potential employees with the right skills set to fit into the new world of work.
The Governor has often noted that the international labor market is evolving and new skills are coming up, therefore, Edo youths need to upgrade their skills.
The decline in the demand for workers and the increase in the rate of unemployment are the result of these lapses. Prospective members of the creative industry could not compete with their global counterparts due to the skill gap.
The recent figure of immigrants that are being rehabilitated at various rehabilitation centers in Benin City speaks volume as to how badly the youths in the State need skills and empowerment.
The Edo State Government through the Edo State Skills Development Agency (ESDA), popularly known as EdoJobs, in its unrelenting pursuit to build the youths of the State and create more jobs for the younger generation recently launched an app called “Edo Skill-up Mobile App”, adopting a self-empowerment approach which in local parlance says, “do not give me fish but teach me how to fish.”
The app was downloaded by over 1000 users out of which 300 users successfully completed the courses on the app.
An offshoot of this online training was a one-week offline hands-on training put together by the Agency.
The training which started on Monday 25th, and ended on Friday 29th April, 2022, had expatriates from France teaching the participants practical insights on various fields of movie and music productions and how they can generate income and ultimately become employers of labor.
According to a report released by the Motion Picture Association, “Consumer spending in the global entertainment market — consisting of theatrical box office and home entertainment — reached $99.7 billion in 2021, marking an important return to pre-pandemic levels.”
Speaking at the opening session of the training which took place at the John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy, the Managing Director of ESDA, Ms. Ukinebo Dare, noted that “About 1000 persons have downloaded the EdoSkillUp app from Google play store and 300 of them completed the learning management system on the app. A call for application was made and 40 beneficiaries that did so well were selected from the pool of 300 users in a disinterested manner.
According to Dare, “This continuation of the learning management system is aimed at equipping the participants with hands-on training on what was learned online.
“Many times unemployment arises because some of the unemployed persons are not in possession of the skills required and no one would be willing to employ such persons, hence the training”.
She further noted that the participants who are being segmented into Shooting and editing classes; Entrepreneurship in the Creative Industry; and Entrepreneurship in the Music Industry, with 15, 15, 10 participants respectively, would have unlimited access to the Edo Creative Hub which has been equipped with modern state-of-the-art-facilities.
She also noted that the Edo State Government is in partnership with ROKSTUDIO to produce 50 movies. The Agency has also partnered ROKSTUDIO to train 73 residents in script writing, sound engineering, post-production and cinematography.
Mrs. Dare added: “The Obaseki administration believes that at the end of all these, the participants would not only be employable, but also make money and even become employers of labor.”
Recall that EdoJobs declared a record of 3,121 jobs from 13 job creation programs spread across the 18 local government areas of the State in the first quarter of this year (2022) amid the socio-economic meltdown occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr. Jeremiah Dighomanor, a very excited participant in the music industry class who could not hide his joy, noted that the opportunity provided by the training is priceless.
According to him, “I have always wanted to learn music and make a career in it but due to some constraints, I could not. I am super grateful to the Edo State Government for bringing these experts from France.
All the trainings carried out in the State are in a bid to place the creative industry of the State in a position of global relevance and create more job opportunities for younger generations.
The Obaseki administration remains committed to facilitating trainings that would enhance the youth and build in them the requisite capacity to make them employable and also captains of industries.