World Youth Skills Day is an important occasion to recognize the significance of empowering young people with the skills they need to thrive in an ever-changing world. In Nigeria, with a population of over 200 million people, more than 60% of the population is under the age of 25. This young demographic presents immense potential for economic growth and development. However, to unlock this potential, it is crucial to address the pressing need for skills among Nigerian youth.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the youth unemployment rate in Nigeria stands at a staggering 42.5%. This statistic highlights the urgent need to equip young people with relevant skills that match the demands of the evolving job market. The rapidly advancing technological landscape, coupled with the challenges posed by globalization and automation, requires a shift in focus towards equipping Nigerian youth with the skills of the moment and the future.

Nurturing the skills of Nigerian youth is not just essential for their individual success but also for the overall socio-economic development of the country. As Nigeria strives to diversify its economy and reduce its reliance on oil revenue, it becomes increasingly important to prioritize skill development in sectors such as technology, agriculture, renewable energy, healthcare, and entrepreneurship.

On this day, it is important to shed light on the skills of the moment and the future that are vital for Nigerian youth to thrive in the evolving job market. By focusing on the development of these skills, Nigeria can harness the potential of its youth population and drive sustainable economic growth.

  1. Adaptability and Resilience: In a rapidly evolving world, adaptability and resilience have become crucial skills. The ability to embrace change, navigate uncertainty, and bounce back from setbacks is vital. Young people should be encouraged to develop a growth mindset, embrace new technologies, and cultivate flexibility in their thinking and problem-solving approaches.
  2. Digital Literacy and Technological Fluency: The digital age has transformed the way we live, work, and communicate. To thrive in today’s digital landscape, youth must possess strong digital literacy and technological fluency. This includes the ability to use digital tools effectively, critically evaluate online information, and adapt to emerging technologies. Promoting digital literacy should be a priority in educational curricula and vocational training programs.
  3. Creativity and Innovation: As automation and artificial intelligence reshape industries, creativity and innovation have emerged as uniquely human qualities. Encouraging young minds to think creatively, explore new ideas, and solve complex problems will be vital for their success. Education should foster a culture that values and nurtures creativity, empowering young individuals to become imaginative problem solvers and innovative thinkers.
  4. Communication and Collaboration: In an interconnected world, effective communication and collaboration skills are essential. Youth should be equipped with the ability to express themselves clearly, listen actively, and collaborate with diverse teams. These skills enable young people to build strong relationships, work effectively in a global context, and contribute to collective solutions.
  5. Emotional Intelligence and Well-being: The ability to understand and manage emotions, develop empathy, and maintain mental well-being are critical for personal and professional success. By prioritizing emotional intelligence development, we empower youth to build strong interpersonal connections, navigate conflicts, and make sound decisions. Incorporating social-emotional learning programs in educational settings can play a significant role in fostering emotional intelligence.

As we celebrate World Youth Skills Day, it is essential to recognize the transformative power of skills in shaping the lives of young individuals. Young people are also encouraged to leverage exciting opportunities available through the USADF-LSETF employability program in Lagos State, a project that is promoting the development of hard skills in sectors like construction, hospitality and construction, as well as life skills like adaptability, digital literacy, creativity, communication, and emotional intelligence skills. With the USADF-LSETF program, Diamond Development Initiatives (DDI) as the Implementing Partner of the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) in Nigeria is currently facilitating the provision of globally competitive and sought-after skills to young people in Lagos State, contributing to the reduction of unemployment amongst youth in Nigeria.

The program is empowering 3,000 young people per year for five (5) years by equipping them with relevant skills for the present and the future. The programme also provides paid post-training internships for a substantial number of these young people in jobs within their chosen sectors.

This collaboration between the USADF and Lagos State Government is geared towards equipping young people with the tools they need to thrive in the present and embrace the challenges of the future.