Year 2023 World Youth Skill Day focuses on the need to ensure that members of the Young populace in Nigeria are being equipped with in-demand skills for self-development and employability. In Abuja, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Country Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone partnered with MindTheGap through the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Digital Onboarder Community Development Service (CDS) Group and other Stakeholders to deliberate on the theme: “Empowering Youth For A Sustainable Future: Building Skills For Tomorrow”.
Recognising the need for the World Youths to skill up, the United Nations General Assembly established World Youth Skill Day in 2014. Since then, 15th July has been celebrated as the World Youth Skill Day each year. Earlier in March 2012, the NYSC administration introduced Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship (SAED) Programs into the NYSC orientation course content. The objectives of the scheme incorporate sensitisation and mobilisation of Young graduates for skill acquisition and enterprise development of self-reliance.
Present at the event were the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), George Akume, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs Office, Country Director of ILO, Executive Director of MindTheGap, and others. The event featured several sections such as upskilling Youth talks, questions and answers and a lot more. In his opening remark, Nko Esuabana, who represented the SGF, said “Together, we have embarked on a collective endeavor to reach the skill gap and empower our Youths in the green, digital and creative economy”. The Country Director of ILO, Vanessa Phala stated that to fulfill the potential of this digital era, we must ensure that our Young people are not only technologically trained but must possess critical thinking, problem-solving, and adaptability skills to strive in a changing world. The ED of MindTheGap, Tayo Olosunde who coordinated the event, also raised questions that revolved around Youth empowerment and digital skills acquisition.
Deliberations focused on youth empowerment, how to secure and sustain a greener future for the Nigerian Youths through acquisition of in-demand skills. Also, the need for government and non-governmental organisation to collaborate together and help individual Youth create a niche to function in the evolving digital economy which contributes largely to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Drawing from the theme and discussions of this year’s World Youth Skills Day, it has become more crucial than ever before, the issue of empowering the Youths for a sustainable future by equipping Youths with skills for tomorrow. This is a call to action for all stakeholders committed to helping the youth harness employment opportunities, which is not limited to Nigeria alone but to the world. As government and other stakeholders provide enabling environment, Youths must also rise to the task of obtaining relevant digital skills to be productive and fruitful in their endeavor.