What appears to be useful and working elsewhere in the world has become a thorn in the flesh of Nigerian job seekers. The pains and sufferings accompanying ones resolve to acquire a university, polytechnic or any other related degree, after four to six years of sleepless nights with endured patience seems to be the beginning of ones woes and troubles.
In a quest to settle down, live comfortably and enjoy ones who-knows-how-long life on earth,many found themselves in our citadels of higher learning, either through due process or via the backdoor,by hook or by crook.
The processes involved in gaining admission into our higher institutions per se is a vast topic for another day and can take a good chunk of time to discuss. The intricacies and rigorous processes (ranging from taking exams like SSCE, JAMB UTME,Aptitude Test and even Viva Voce; payment of the ever increasing tuition fees,exorbitant house rents and the purchase of costly but low quality pamphlets etc) involved in seeking admission into our schools and successfully passing out, are just an infinitesimal fraction of the woes that lie ahead.
The offering of huge sums of money, ones long-preserved virgin body or both for admission is no longer strange but cultural.The wonders of our ‘miracle centres’ aid those who care little about decency and whatsoever thing that is right. In fact, the labyrinthine means involved in gaining admission and graduating successfully appears to be negligible when compared with that of being happily employed.
An average school-leaver in Nigeria is subjected to the disheartening and compulsory experience of knowing many(if not all) the offices in his or her locality and even beyond, as he or she hunts for job.Clothed with borrowed or newly bought suits and shoes, which they are not used to ordinarily, they are forced to painstakingly comb the streets with their credentials-containing files. The search for good jobs in our country is such a venomous venture in which even the person involved does not know the possible outcome and duration.
Despite the preparations made before moving out for the so-called job interviews, one is only made to regret being in attendance. Despite the ethics and answers to likely questions learnt, school-leavers are only left frustrated at the long-run. Even when one gets very close to clinging on to the job,’working experience’ raises its ugly head suddenly and becomes a monster on the way to ones success. The question that comes to ones mind becomes- how will a fresh school-leaver get this so-called ‘working experience’ without being given a job to start with and trusted to do it well?
Unlike the ‘long-legged’ school-leavers offered jobs expressly even in places they never merited,even the authentic first-class holders are unlawfully disqualified from getting deserved jobs,with ‘working experience’ serving as the defence mantra. It becomes evident that something is wrong somewhere. It is either that we do not know what we want or that we don’t know how to go about getting what we want. Our employers really need to understand the meaning and relevance or importance of the phrase,’working experience’, together with its role in recruiting competent workers.
Work experience is supposed to be the experience a person acquires by working in a specific field or occupation. Also known as intern, it used to mean a type of volunteer work that is intended for young people -often students- to get a feel of their would-be working environments. It is synonymous with IT(Industrial Training) and Internship which are embarked on in our schools.
Though the placements are usually unpaid, travel and food expenses are sometimes covered, and at the end of the appointment, a character reference is usually provided. Trainees usually have the opportunity to network and make contacts among the working personnel and put themselves forward for forthcoming opportunities for paid work.
What then is the essence of the 6 to 12 month ITs, embarked upon by students while in school, if it doesn’t make them eligible for paid jobs after school? What actually is the motive behind the ‘working experience’ attached to various jobs in our labour market? What are the ulterior motives of our unconcerned employers? Sincerely, we actually need to answer these questions as soon as possible, in order to solve the recurrent crime related problems coming from our jobless idle youths. If there are no vacancies for job seekers, it should be clear to all, including the blind among them and not to continue with the usual frustration, which is hiding under the cloaks of the monstrous ‘working experience’.
Moreso, school-leavers/graduates should strive to be self-employed, if our insensitive government insists on not providing employment for the abandoned masses they are to carter for. We need jobs to get that special type of ‘working experience’ needed by most Nigerian employers. Appropriate and result-oriented modalities should be put in place in our different offices, factories and companies to accommodate young school-leavers and at the same time sparing them the palaver emanating from the so-called ‘working experience’.
With our current status in terms of poor development, lack of employment and limited job opportunities, getting a good job in our country is an unfavourable adventure which no sane individual will want to experience. Lets therefore help our school-leavers to vacate our crowded streets and save them from the detestable monster.
By Nkemjika Okoye