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1.1 Background of the Study
Nigeria the most populous nation in Africa and the second-largest economy in the continent is endowed with both human and material resources but years of unbridled corruption, mismanagement and sheer waste have hindered economic growth in the country. Consequently, the nation’s resources have been left under-utilized leading to unemployment and abject poverty (Bakare, 2013). The importation of foreign policies that were workable in developed economy failed to improve the economic system with soaring rate of unemployment of our able-bodied youths.
One of the major goals of economic development strategies pursued by successive Nigeria Government has been the reduction of unemployment through job creation. Burnett (2000) asserts that entrepreneurship is a necessary ingredient for stimulating growth and successful economic development. Entrepreneurs orchestrate these transformations and create new channels for economic activity and employment. Thus, all countries that wish to pursue continued development must encourage entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are creators of employment for the Nigerian growing population which has significant effect on poverty alleviation. Poverty and unemployment are interrelated. Alleviation of unemployment most likely has positive influence on poverty alleviation. Entrepreneurship has therefore gained increased prominence and importance as a key factor in job creation, economic growth and development. The major problem confronting Nigeria Youths today is joblessness. These youths constitute greater fraction of Nigeria’s economically active population. According to Awogbenle and Iwuamadi (2015), the statistics from federal bureau of statistics showed that Nigeria has a youth population of 80 million representing 60 percent of the total population of the country. Also, 64 million of them are unemployed, while 1.6 million are underemployed. This implies that a lot of energies that would have been used to generate revenues and improve the economy are being wasted. Youths, like other classes of the population have needs to meet (Nnabuife, 2009), but since 1980’s the important roles of the youths have continued to suffer some set back as they can hardly engage themselves in meaningful work (Davies, 2006).
Skill acquisition can be defined as the form of training by individuals or group of individuals that can lead to acquisition of knowledge for self sustenance. It involves the training of people in different fields of trade under a legal agreement between the trainers and the trainees for certain duration and under certain conditions. Ochiagha (2015) defined skill acquisition as the process of demonstrating the habit of active thinking or behavior in a specific activity. He further stated that skill acquisition is seen as the ability to do or perform an activity that is related to some meaningful exercise, work or job. He maintains that for skill to be acquired, appropriate knowledge, attitudes, habits of thought and qualities of character are learnt to enable the acquirer develop intellectual, emotional and moral character which prepares him or her for a brighter future. Similarly, Donli (2004) is of the view that skill acquisition is the manifestation of idea and knowledge through training which is geared towards instilling in individuals, the spirit of entrepreneurship needed for meaningful development. He stressed that if individuals are given the opportunity to acquire relevant skills needed for self sustenance in the economy, it will promote their charisma in any work environment. He further maintains that skill acquisition increases competition and cooperation among people. Accordingly, Magbagbeola (2004) posited that skills acquisition requires the accumulation of different skills that enhances task performance through the integration of both theoretical and practical forms of knowledge. He enumerated the guidelines for the sustenance of skill acquisition programme to include the followings;
Provision of training that gives the trainees the opportunities to acquire skills that are appropriate for preparationin a field of trade for gainful employment. Provision of definite skills that relate to each trade that makes one a professional in one field instead of the others that training have to be done by competent, experienced and qualified instructors. Skill acquisition requires much practice, patience, interest, ability, aptitude and personality traits. Skill acquisition requires conducive environment. Training requires constructive human relationship, business skills, imitation and constructive ideas. The principles guiding training in a particular field in terms of attitude, customer-relationship, productivity, efficiency, supply and demand needs to be appreciated. From the above scenario, it can be stated that skill acquisition requires a holistic approach in the realization of creative ideas. It helps in the transformation of knowledge and skills into creative venture. This paper therefore, discuses the impact of skill acquisition on youth unemployment in Nigeria.
1.2. Statement of Problem
Unemployment of youths in Nigeria is no longer a new word to Nigerians. The spate and its reach has been stated above. The consequence is frustration expressed through various vices that constitute insecurity in the country. Joblessness is further compounded by the fact that a good number of organizations were closed down due to inadequate training of staff, poor understanding of the market, poor infrastructural services, unstable political environment, lack of clear and suitable marketing strategies. Other challenges are insecurity, inadequate funding, lack of innovativeness, lack of good corporate social responsibility and community friendship. Unemployment problems pervade almost all countries of the world, but at varying degree of intensity. In some countries, unemployment rate could be very low as in advanced countries of the world such as United States of America, Japan and England. In a developing country, such as Nigeria, unemployment rate with its attendant problems is very high. The problems created by unemployment ranges from idleness, gossiping, stealing, robbery, prostitution, money launderings, political thuggery, insurgency, kidnapping, cultism, and many more.
Previous governments in Nigeria had tried to solve these problems in the past through various programmes like Better Life for Rural dwellers, Operation Feed the Nation, Green Revolution and Mass Mobilization for Rural Women. However, these have not achieved reasonable result because while job creations were growing at arithmetic progression, graduates turnouts from our increasing tertiary institutions were growing at geometric progression. The issue of joblessness was further aggravated by what the curricula of studies have to offer. Nigeria education system as inherited from colonial master does not equip our graduates with the skills needed to create jobs. It is tailored towards white collar jobs seeking (Nwadiana, 2011). It is most likely that a society where more youths seek white collar jobs, rather than create jobs will certainly witness the vices associated with high unemployment rate. Our tertiary institutions based a greater portion of their teachings on theory. They lack sufficient practical lessons.
Today, most graduates in engineering, accounting, medicine, law, to mention a few lack the prerequisite practical experience and skills needed to take up pay employment, talk less of demonstrating initiatives to generate or create jobs. This study advocates development of entrepreneurial skills as an important way in creating enough jobs for our teeming youths with our abundant natural resources and talents. This will further imbibe in our youths the culture of dignity in labour. This study therefore seeks to investigate the extent of entrepreneurial skill acquisition as a panacea to youth unemployment in Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
For this study, the general objective is on investigation of the extent of skills acquisition as a panacea to youth unemployment in Nigeria with emphasis on Awka North Local Government Area.
The specific objectives are;
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions are drawn for this study;
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The Following hypotheses are presented for this study;
H1: Entrepreneurial Skills acquisition does not equips youths with knowledge how to acquire, innovative, creative, originality, risk taking, initiative and visionary entrepreneurial knowledge.
H1: Youths unemployment in Awka North Local Government Area cannot result to idleness, gossiping, stealing, robbery, prostitution, money launderings, political thuggery, insurgency, kidnapping and cultism.
H1: Skills acquisition do not train youths to be innovative, creative and productive thinkers and doers who can float individual companies and create employment.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study could not have come at a better time. This is because Nigeria is currently battling from an economic recession greatly caused by lack of entrepreneurs and skillfully employed youths. With everyone taking to quick means of making money, the country plunged into a recession that has worsened the youth’s employment rate in the country. By the end of this research work and at presentation, the following people are expected to have benefitted; researchers, students, politicians, youths in Awka North Local Government Area and policy makers.
For the scholars, teachers and students, this research work will theoretically benefit them since it will give them basics for further research and serve as reference material for literature and empirical reviews.
Those who will theoretically benefit from this research work are the youths themselves who will no doubt learn a few things about skills acquisition, need from it and how to go about acquiring one. Policy makers and politicians would also see the need for inclusion of entrepreneurial skills acquisition in the school curriculums across border and infusion of an independent agency for skills acquisition, training and development in the nation’s budget.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This research work bothers itself with the establishment of skills acquisition as a panacea to youth’s unemployment in Nigeria with concentrated effort within Awka North Local Government Area. Those targeted here are the youth’s within the local government area.
The researcher chose Awka North local government and not other areas because of the proximity of the local government to him. He also chose the youths within the area because they are the worst hit when it comes to unemployment in the country with higher associated risks.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
There are various limitations encountered by the researcher in the course of this study. Let’s start with;
1.9 Operational Definition of Terms
Skills Acquisition:This is a specific form of leaning which involves trainings, mostly entrepreneurial to equip participants with the necessary knowledge and know how on how to be creative, innovative, productive and successful self manufacturers with a high level of originality.
Panacea:This means solutions, practical solutions to identified and existing problems.
Youths:Youths in this research refers to all citizens who are between the young ages brackets considered as youths in Nigeria and is between 18years of age to 35 years of age.
Unemployment:This is an unfortunate situation that arises when one is qualified to have a job in an agency, ministry or organization and is willing to work, even applied to be considered for employment, seen to be qualified but cannot get such job because of lack of existing vacancies or places for him to have such desired employment.