Encouraging youth entrepreneurship

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In recent years, governments at all levels have been clamouring for young school leavers and youths to embrace entrepreneurship and become job-creators rather than looking for almost non-existent white-collar jobs.

This would boost the economy by creating an avenue for essential entrepreneurship, career, and leadership skills to reduce agitations and crimes among youths and young persons in the country. Adding to this discourse was the National President, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Ogun State, Alumni Association, Dr. Segun Ogundiran, during the maiden edition of the Post University Degree Summit (PUDS), organised for graduating students of FUNAAB to prepare them ahead of challenges they are likely to face.

According to him, the present state of the country had made the mental health of fresh graduates to be derailed, which in turn, affected the quality representation in different strata. Dr. Ogundiran added that the desire of the association was to have versatile alumni, armed with the requisite skills that would drive the development of the country in the areas of academic, social development, and career enhancements. Declaring the summit open, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Kolawole Salako, said the programme was highly laudable, adding that the discussions were very timely. Represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Bolanle Akeredolu-Ale, the Vice-Chancellor said as the University, was turning out graduates from many quarters; there was the need to improve the career and entrepreneurial skills of students. Prof. Salako, therefore, encouraged participants to use the opportunity to gain a lot at the end of the summit.

The Dean of Student Affairs, Prof. Adebukunola Omemu, said the programme was organised to boost the capacity of graduates, stressing that the summit was the beginning of greater things to come. The Dean urged students to rather change the world and not allow the world to change them. Also, the Principal Assistant Registrar, Guidance and Counselling Unit of the University, Dr. Modesta Ofodile, urged the graduating students to look for something legal that they can do with their hands, as taught by their lecturers. Dr. Ofodile, who was represented by Mrs. Felicia Olaleye, said problems and challenges would always come, but encouraged the students to be optimistic that they would overcome their challenges. In a similar vein, entrepreneurs have been advised not to be scared of procuring huge capital before starting a business.

This piece of information came from an entrepreneur, Mr. Nathaniel Olakotan, while speaking on FUNAAB Radio 89.5 FM programme, The Entrepreneur. Mr. Olakotan, who is an expert in the production of bar soaps, harped on the need to embrace the Federal Government’s calls for skills acquisition by Nigerians, so as to alleviate poverty in society. He lamented the high cost of raw materials and lack of soft loans as the bane of small and medium scale enterprises in the country, apart from the problems of epileptic power supply and infrastructural deficits. He, however, appealed to the government at all levels to expedite actions on how to rescue small scale businesses from untimely death.

On why it is important to have the relevant curriculum to adapt to the changing needs, a Professor of Industrial Chemistry, College of Physical Sciences (COLPHYS) in FUNAAB, Prof. Catherine Eromosele has called for the delivery of Chemistry curriculum in theory and practice, to have a full understanding and appreciation of Chemistry as an empirical science. Prof. Eromosele made this known during the 67th Inaugural Lecture of the University, which she delivered with the theme, “Chemistry, Industry and Development”. According to her, “There have been concerns about the quality of our university education, graduate employability perceived non-responsiveness of curricula to societal challenges, and failure to meet the needs of the industry. A cursory examination of Chemistry the curriculum across countries in the world shows no differences in scope and contents for the training of undergraduate students”.

The Don noted that there are primary issues confronting the dispensation of the Chemistry curriculum in Nigeria, stating that a vast array of experimental chemical reaction processes that should promote hands-on experience for students, undergraduate and postgraduate had become inaccessible to them. Prof. Eromosele stressed that an assessment of activities in a laboratory can be made from the status of the chemical store, which is a reservoir of chemical reagents for both immediate and long-term needs. She described Chemistry as one of the most expensive programmes in the University, which is susceptible to financial distress; stressing the need for access to research facilities against the background of the paucity of funds.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kolawole Salako appreciated Prof. Eromosele for her efforts at facilitating the take-off of the College of Physical Sciences (COLPHYS) building while highlighting some of the key positions held by the 67th Inaugural lecturer to include the Chairman, Students Welfare and Hostels Management Committee, as well as Chairman, Admissions Committee, among others. In the final analysis, encouraging youth entrepreneurship involves having the necessary curriculum in place that would impart the required knowledge in students, having little capital, and necessary encouragement to reduce unemployment, job insecurity, and restiveness associated with limited employment opportunities in Nigeria.

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