iCreate Africa Celebrates World Youth Skills Day 2020
iCreate Africa has become a major force in Technical Vocational and Education Training (TVET) and youth employment, with a mandate to fill up 5 million jobs in technical skills trades, the organization has made huge strides within the first 2years of existence. In 2019 they hosted 3 regional competitions across the county and a grand finale in Lagos, created direct employment for over 5000 youths, empowered 350 artisans with startup funds, tools, equipment and mentorship and sponsored 2 skills champions to attend the world skills competition in Russia Kazan.
In celebration of World Youth Skills Day, iCreate hosted a virtual skills conference on Skills for a Resilient Youth in the Era of Covid-19 and Beyond, with panelists from the private and public sector, skilled professional and more. Moderated by CEO Creandolo Anne Dirkling and Senior manager German-African Business Association Khadi Camara, the conference focused on resilience, it took stock of the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on skills development and explored strategies in response to the unfolding economic crisis.
Bright Jaja, CEO of iCreate Africa highlighted her mandate to create 5 million jobs benchmarking on the 20million jobs available in technical and vocational skills space, adding that if she can empower 1 million people with the tool for success, they in turn can transfer their skills to 5 people which creates an unmatched industry.
Leveraging on technology, Panelist, Juliet Oshagbemi of Dangote Academy iterated that now, Incorporating ICT into their academic curriculum is key, upskilling professionsals and training new ones, and including soft skills such as emotional intelligence, teamwork, problem-solving which is often looked over.
The pandemic has left many young people wandering about, searching for safe ways to conduct their businesses, which often depend on physical activity, a once familiar system to which may no longer apply. As such CEO MamzaBeauty, Fatima Mamza, did not take bookings, limited interacting with people and now must work with masks if at all. In Nigeria, events, which is a major source of income for those in beauty, hospitality, event design and entertainment, can take only 20-50 people and has affected the income of many operating in such industries. Unlocking productivity is key and so the CEO is considering launching classes on ‘doing your makeup yourself’ which limits physical interaction with people.
Commisioner Ministry of Business Innovation and Technology Kaduna state Idris Nyam ably represented by SA to the hon commissioner Mr Uche Enyioha stated that business drives economy. There is a need to keep up the pace by ensuring and building skills by ICT, technical and vocational skills, and all skills need to sustain businesses post-covid 19, and provide linkage to these markets.
Now, up-scaling is key, and so Bruns Hans-Ludwig Head of GIZ-SKYE program emphasized that “we do not look for the quick wins anymore”, in Nigeria, there is an appetite for skills at state level and will escalate to federal level over the next 6 months.
Tolulope Olafimihan, the CEO of GNation, iterated that the main way to market your work is through fashion shows, which are no longer as possible to host, it is time to leverage on social media; whether it is a picture of a kaftan or dress and maximizing it. “If you don’t know how to do so, now is the time to learn.” He added that it is imperative to leverage on logistics, work with a good photographer, collaborate with other skill sets such as makeup and sculpting to create standout content.
With the aim of rebranding the skills professions aand making them well sought after iCreate Africa henceforth will refer to ‘artisans’ as ‘skillers’, who are top-notch, well trained skilled professionals. In lieu of the opportunities available to skillers, iCreate also launched its new platform in response to the covid-19 pandemic called Skillers.ng, a one-stop-shop for in-demand skilled service. The Skillers by iCreate platform serves as a bridge that supports the informal sector, providing small businesses and daily workers access to jobs and clients. It is a safe, simple and affordable environment for cooperation allowing entrepreneurs to source labour from freelancers who would otherwise be earning significantly less in this new normal world.
Buttressing on the opportunities in skills, Daniel Sabzehar CEO Tessarakt reiterated that skilled workers can be employed very easily and their skills exported, creating solutions easily, connecting them to premium clients, encouraging African Youth to “keep going keep growing, stay optimistic, the whole world is watching”.
Bright Jaja added that the future of this country is in the hands of the youth and they need to take ownership, wake up and take responsibility! Concluding on the need for collaborations, he emphasized that the task at hand cannot be done individually, but there is a need to set up an institution collaboratively to ensure that skills are held in high regard and job opportunities are created for young people.