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Youth Skills

Waiting for a white-collar job: a sure way to extend unemployment in Nigeria

The agricultural sector accounts for a significant portion of Nigeria's GDP, but youth don't find it an attractive job. Photo: <a href="">The National Archives UK (Flickr)</a>
The agricultural sector accounts for a significant portion of Nigeria's GDP, but youth don't find it an attractive job. Photo: The National Archives UK (Flickr)

The Kwara state government in Nigeria is promoting traditional vocations in an effort
to change young minds uninterested in any position outside the glamorous white-collar

A recent UN report indicated youth unemployment had reached a staggering 37.7 percent. In other words, 2 out of every 5 Nigerian young people are without a job. Ironically, many are over-educated or over-qualified for available jobs, leading to frustrating circumstances such as PhD holders applying for truck driving positions last November.

There are few white-collar positions, however not every compelling job is white-collar.
Currently, the agricultural sector accounts for over 30 percent of Nigeria's economy.
Hence, as a part of the Kwara State Youth Empowerment Scheme (KWABES), a
government youth farm training center in Malete gives youths commercial training as
well as microfinance loans to pursue their own farming ventures post-graduation.

KWABES has also established an international vocational center that focuses on skills
such as carpentry and construction, looking to produce self-reliant workers who create
jobs rather than merely filling them.

Most recently, in collaboration with the University in Malete, the government is
extending youth employment services to include broader entrepreneurship funding and

During the flag off of the program, Alhaji Isiaka Gold, Secretary of the State Government (SSG), indicated that KWABES would produce a generation of entrepreneurs that would change and shape future economy of the state and the nation.

Lost in the “get rich quick” dream, youth are waiting a lifetime for the perfect white-collar job to appear. While patience is a virtue, in this case it’s not productive. We need to destigmatize other jobs and develop creative ventures that promote a different dream. The young can’t wait.

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RESOURCE: The African Economic Outlook

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