ReadySetWork 2.0 prepares students in Lagos for outside world, as UNILAG plays host
Two years ago, the Lagos State Government had discovered a gap between the curriculum of students of tertiary schools in the state and their employability after school. To bridge this gap, the Lagos State Government set up the ReadySetWork initiative, an employability and entrepreneurship program. The ReadySetWork programme prepares final year students for immediate entry into the workforce as employees and employers of labour, by equipping them with market-aligned knowledge, soft skills, business tools and a mindset reorientation to the world of work.
Now in its second edition, the initiative is set to impact the lives of students in the 6 institutions of higher learning in Lagos State.
To this end, the ReadySetWork Initiative 2.0 took place on Saturday 5, August 2017 at the University of Lagos. Mentors, representatives of the Lagos State Ministry of Education and the Center for Entrepreneurship, University of Lagos, gathered with over 700 students in the biggest lecture halls of the Department of Creative Arts of the University of Lagos, to re-define what it means to be a ‘fresh graduate’ and share some knowledge to equip the students for challenges which may lurk in the labour market.
Debola Olowu, an Administrative Officer of the Lagos State Ministry of Education, explained the ReadySetWork program as an initiative of the Lagos State Government (through the Office of the Special Adviser on Education), focused on entrepreneurship and employability training for tertiary institution students across Lagos State, including University of Lagos. There is the entrepreneurship track, for students who want to set up their own businesses and the employability track, which is geared towards assisting students who wish to enter the world of work and entrepreneurship.
“What we are doing is, within 13 weeks of intensive facilitation, we are preparing 12,000 students from 6 institutions in Lagos State for the world of work. The institutions are Lagos State University, Lagos State Polytechnic, University of Lagos, Lagos State College of Health Technology, Michael Otedola College of Primary Education and Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education.” He said.
In Lagos state, where 65% of the population is under 35years of age, the chances of young graduates getting jobs are getting slimmer by the day.
“If you look at the situation of the country due to the recession, unemployment rate is rising by the day. Where will these kids be in five years? This is a situation we are trying to help them grapple with. I think the message is coming across to all of these students. This is a pioneer program, well thought out and well thought through and the governor is passionate about making sure no student is left behind.”
The Center for Entrepreneurship, University of Lagos, one of the collaborators on this program, has provided space for the students to attend programme classes. Dr. Adebisi Sunday Abayomi, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship is of the opinion that every student can become an entrepreneur, regardless of the course he/she pursues. As part of its mandate within the ReadySetWork initiative, the Center will connect students with ideas which have market potentials and help look for venture capitalists to invest in the ideas.
Gossy Ukanwoke, the founder of Nigeria’s first online university, Beni American University and BAU Executive Education, was one of the programme mentors and spoke to students on overcoming negativity. He hailed the programme’s objectives and commented on the importance of the efforts of Lagos State Government in making the students more work-ready.
“This is excellent. I was a mentor last year and I jumped at the opportunity to mentor again this year, because I have seen the impact this program has had on the students. These students have been in school for four years and do not have that outside engagement around what is really going to happen when they leave the university. So, the entrepreneurship and employability aspects of the program expose them to the realities of what goes on outside of the school environment. There is stiff competition outside. They will not only be competing with their fellow classmates, but also with students from all around the globe. Having the understanding of what they are going to face and being ready for it, gives them a better opportunity than any other person out there.”
Gossy is also the President of EduTech, an Education Technology Company focusing on helping African traditional universities take their on-campus degree programmes online, through implementation of the very best of technology, process management, recruitment and admissions and advisory.
Lolade Oshifola, one of the participating students from the University of Lagos, attests to the benefits of the programme. It has provided her with internship placement opportunities, problem solving, goal setting and entrepreneurship skills.
“I have learnt of the different attributes I have to imbibe to be able to be employable and find investment opportunities for my business idea. It has been worth my time and is a good opportunity for every student.”
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Chiamaka Akuba33 Posts
Chiamaka Akuba is a graduate of Mass Communication of the University of Lagos, Nigeria. She is passionate about emerging markets and entrepreneurship and is actively working with the industry. She loves her conversations challenging and can’t help laughing when you call her ‘Honourable Writer of the Federal Republic'. Chiamaka is a Staff Writer at Outrepreneurs.