One problem significant in my community is the increased rate of unemployment. For many years now, the numbers of young people who graduate from the Universities are increasing drastically at a negative proportion to the number of jobs available.
Our education system has not helped matters either as it only prepares us to stay away from risk and take our place as employees instead of preparing us to be employers of labour. But of course, not everyone can be employers of labour . However, to reduce this trend, we will need to create adequate jobs that will reduce the job deficit that we currently have.
One of the dangers this problem brings to our communities is restiveness of youths. Majority of crimes committed in our community today is committed by young people. Recently in the news, a young man killed his parents and his three siblings out of frustration and most recently too, an armed robbery gang paraded by the Nigerian Police Force comprised mostly of young people. Our most troubled region in the country is characterized by incessant kidnapping carried out by mostly young persons. The situation is currently given the country a huge concern. The major cause identified was unemployment and this buttresses the saying that “an idle hand is a devils workshop”.
I have puzzled over the issue severally with a means to contribute my quota to reducing the trend and recently, I became committed to attempting to solve the trend. First of all, I identified that the education system was not connecting students to real world experience and it will take time to get government to revise curriculum since politics is an overriding factor in governance these days and most times it is difficult to get policies passed without having some level of politics being played in the process.
One alternative that we have identified is the establishment of Small and Medium scale Enterprise (SME) with young people leading the pact. It is important to pursue a youth-led job creation efforts through the creation of Small and Medium scale Enterprise since young people are the most committed to any cause around the world. Young people are curious, possess enormous energy and are the sustainability of every society. I recently designed a module that can jump-start youth led job creation through the creation of SMEs.
The module seeks to empower young persons with knowledge of how to effectively run small businesses, encourage them to run this businesses in a group of three (3), assign them to mentors who have huge experience in their chosen area of business and then, empower them with soft loans without interest to kick-start their small businesses. Each business supported by our loans are assessed every half of the year and the best three are given cash prizes in a bid to stimulating excellent performance. Each small businesses are given targets to create a certain number of jobs within a specified period after due assessment of their growth and expansion rate. Loans are returned after a specified period of time although, certain exception will be given to small businesses that have some understandable challenges.
The reality of this module is that, if all things being equal, jobs will increase proportionally to the rate of the number of groups we support with knowledge, loans and mentorship. Our loans are generated from various charity giving from the public through concerts, charity shop models, and auctions.
From my projections, if 50 groups are supported and are given a target to create 5 jobs each within a period of 24 months, 250 jobs will be created within that same period. This is my realistic approach to the challenge of unemployment in my community.