Youths in Oyo State have been urged to exploit their entrepreneurship skills to avoid the hardship created by the high rate of unemployment in the country.
The advice was given by a gubernatorial aspirant in the state, Professor Adeolu Akande while addressing a group of final year students of the Federal College of Education (Special) Oyo, an affiliate of the University of Ibadan.
Professor Akande who spoke on the topic “How Youths can survive the Hardship of Economic Recession” counselled the youths that the dynamics of the International Economic Order especially the relevance of the Oil Economy is changing so fast that the age long belief that a university degree is a meal ticket is no longer tenable.
He said the dwindling returns on crude oil sales and the downtown in national economy mean that while government at all levels can no longer employ in high number, the private sector does not have enough space to keep employing the hundreds of thousands of youths that graduate from the tertiary institutions every year.
Akande said the immediate solution to unemployment is for the graduating students to exploit their entrepreneurship skills to set up businesses with which they can earn a living.
He said such small and medium size enterprises remain the most promising way out of the problem of unemployment in the country.
“The promise of small and medium scale enterprises lies in their potential to employ huge population of youths. In developed economies, at least 65 per cent of employments are provided by small and medium scale enterprises, employing between two and five persons.
Akande also advised youths in Oyo State to take advantage of the potentials of the state in agriculture rather than wait endlessly for white collar jobs that are not available.
He said Oyo State has huge potentials in agriculture with its largely uncultivated 28,454 square kilometre of arable land.
“There are many career lines in agriculture which you could exploit for gainful employment, ranging from actual cultivation of crops to offering agriculture extension services, produce marketing and providing agriculture logistic support”, he said.
While noting that students were not exposed to acquisition of effective entrepreneurship skills in the education system, Professor Akande counselled governments across the country to place emphasis on skills acquisition and vocational training in the educational system to ease the problem of youth unemployment.
He said the present education system mostly prepare students for employment rather than self-employment and creation of jobs, affirming that self-employment is the bedrock of small and medium scale enterprises which have the capacity to solve the problem of youth unemployment.
“Our education system should produce secondary school leavers who can employ themselves and a few others in the provision of services like painting, bricklaying, carpentry, telephone handset and computer repairs, make-up art, software development and automobile repairs etc.
He said while this will reduce financial pressure on parents when such students get to higher institutions, it will also ensure that such students on graduation do not swell the number of unemployed youths on our streets.
Professor Akande who acknowledged that such educational programme would necessitate significant increment in budgetary allocation to education, insisted that the government should make education a priority and commit more resources to it because it is the best way the government could prove its relevance to the lives of the people.
“No investment in education is lost because it is perhaps the best way a government could support every family, create good citizenship among the people and provide the manpower which is the engine room of the development of any country”, he said.