Challenge: Nigeria’s escalating unemployability crisis has been a significant barrier for youth, leaving many graduates without the in-demand skills necessary for sustainable employment. This gap in the educational system has heightened the urgency for interventions that bridge the divide between academic qualifications and market needs.

Action: 8thGear Hub, with funding from the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) and the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) and the technical support of Diamond Development Initiatives (DDI), launched the Innkeeper Talent Accelerator to address this challenge. The program trained 160 youths in critical areas such as cybersecurity, Data Analysis, Cloud Computing, Web Development, Digital Marketing, Sales & Customer Experience, and Content Creation over ten weeks in two cohorts, aiming to place at least 50% into jobs or internships.

Result: The initiative exceeded expectations, training 168 students within a year and successfully placing over 100 participants in jobs and internships. The comprehensive curriculum covered technical skills and emphasized entrepreneurship, business acumen, and soft skills, equipping graduates to excel in the workforce or embark on entrepreneurial ventures. The program’s success, powered by the testimonies of its graduates, like Mbonu Jennifer who stated, “It is a skill I would never regret learning; I get to make a difference with technology and stand out in the Labour market. More opportunities and more earning power,” has led to a significant demand for future cohorts, with over 1,000 individuals on the waiting list for open scholarships. This narrative underscores the profound impact of targeted skill development programs in transforming lives and communities.