For some years, youth unemployment in Nigeria has continued to remain a challenge. University and Polytechnic graduates still scramble for limited job opportunities in the blue chip companies with little or no success. From every indication, one of the reasons the situation has remained the same is because Nigerian’s infrastructure hasn’t improved. Therefore, supply chain for jobs is limited to a few number of people.
However, technology experts believe this is an opportunity for youths to expand and reorient their mindsets from being employees to employers as they are leaving the university.
The experts believe it is only youths with strong digital skills that can survive in this fourth industrial revolution with transformational technology. The fourth industrial revolution is a new chapter in human development, enabled by extraordinary technology advancements commensurate with those of the first, second and third industrial revolutions. The era is driven by artificial intelligence, Blockchain and Internet of Things, IoT. Speaking to students of Bowen University, Iwo in Osun State, recently to re-orient their mindset from being job seekers to job creators, Technology Strategist, Dr Olufemi Oyenuga said for the students to fit into the fourth industrial revolution, they need strong digital skills because the era favours only those with strong digital skills.
In the event dubbed: Bowen University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Revolution, organized by Technology Institute, New Horizons, Oyenuga said youths must want to learn new skills because traditional skills are already declining. The new skills he itemised include: Data Engineering, Transformational Consulting, Data Scientist, Universal Interface and USB designer, Business Analyst, Big Data Scientists and Artificial Intelligence Scientist. Oyenuga said: “You need to embrace the future because the future is not only human versus machine, but a combination of machine and human beings. Soon, you won’t be needing offices, shops or physical presence to be an entrepreneur. For every solution you are thinking about, there’s a robot that can do it and they think faster than human beings.
Oyenuga, who was a medical doctor that metamorphosed into IT expert, said digital experience is driving the digital economy now. However, his optimism dimmed when he added that most professions may be out of job in few years. He said, “Even with a medical degree, I will tell you that IT and medicine are so fused together. In the next five years, we may not need a lot of doctors. “In the world today, there are five artificial intelligence surgical theatres. There’s one each in Spain, Canada and United States, another one is coming in South Africa where machines will actually do 60 percent of doctor’s work. While urging students to start thinking of problems they can solve with technology, he noted that artificial intelligence can solve problems in the transportation, manufacturing and agriculture sectors. Oyenuga said: “For instance, in Agricultural sector in Scotland, they put sensors inside cows and those sensors keep data back to a centralized system that processes data and tells them when the cows want to mate or produce milk. The data is monitored every day by farmers. So, they know exactly when to go and milk the cow.
“Artificial intelligence is used in tomato cultivation in Spain. They put sensors in the soil to understand the soils texture, the composition of the soil and that automatically translates to the kind of tomato that comes out from that farm, like wise in aviation industry too. “My point is that ‘Technopreneurship’ is actually the way to go for your generation. I standing in front of you is a testimony that your first degree or second degree does not matter anymore,” Oyenuga averred. Also speaking, the Managing Director, New Horizons, Mr. Tim Akano, charged students to see every problem as an opportunity for them to make business out of it. He said the bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity of becoming millionaires, but he urged them not to go into business because they want to become billionaires rather because they want to solve a problem and then money follows as a reward.
Akano gave instance of former student of the institution whom he discovered four years ago and groomed who has become a big name in tech industry in Nigeria, Mr. Samuel Ekpe. According to him, the most crucial skills that students need to survive aside their first degrees are: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication. In his earlier address, the Vice Chancellor, Bowen University, Prof. Joshua Ogunwole described the programme as commendable. The VC who was represented by the Deputy VC, Prof John Akande urged the students not to be left behind while describing them as a lucky generation. Ogunwole said the idea entrepreneurship is touching on the core values of the school. “We hope to pluck the fruits of these efforts in the next few years,” he added.