Eradicating the baseless age bracket against employability

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In Nigeria today, it is no longer strange that tragic news keep soaring continuously without any halt, and now adding this to the list, would likely discourage the intelligentsia  the motive to to school. It is the pointless age bracket into employability in a country where the system fails to function.

It takes more than your zeal, brilliance and talents to graduate in almost government owned universities in Nigeria, and still be within the recommended or largely, trending age bracket of employability, (26) at maximum, especially this depressing times.

This simply means, once you are still in school, and your age is between 25-26, there is but little hope towards what the labour market is holding for you, a labour market that wouldn’t recognize what ever you have been through while in school, especially, Nigerian universities, by the states and at Federal level.

The narration of John Micheal amidst many others, is more of the reason out of the many more reasons I have decided to delve into this disturbing anomaly, in the Nigeria labour force, someone who graduated, at the age of 28, and someone who graduated at the age of let us say, 23, from a known tertiary institution, in Nigeria, should have equal opportunities, I mean, there should be no preferred choice rather than the one based on merit, after each have been put to test, or somewhat one is of higher disposition of knowledge, based on hierarchy than the other, not cut off the mark, of prospective employability base on some meaningless factor, of which age is used as a barrier.

Todays’ Nigeria society seems to be copying the right styles at a wrong time, and at a wrong place, let us know that when we adopt foreign ways, without considering our own level of development, there is bound to be, coalition of various anarchies, companies and industries therefore, who for this reason has kept many creative minds off it shores, are doing themselves more damage, and also shutting out talents better in their companies than off the streets, and even more exploiting them, and the government isn’t intervening, and may not intervene for anytime soon.

Let us do a little statistic to buttress my point, in Micheals’ case, an HND holder of Lagos state polytechnic, with a very good result, a discipline, known as (Actuarial science), who would be clocking the age of 31, soon, would we say Adegboyega is not employed because he isn’t worthy to be in the system, or because he isn’t connected to some dictators, who are one way close to the cooky-jar, or this baseless ascertion of beyond employability age?, note this, he graduated at the age, of 28, served for one more year, then begin his job hunting for past two years now, in his narration, “having submitted my curriculum vitae, to various, companies, many reputable ones called me for interview, of which the position are quite what I am capable and fit to handle, but they always euphemistically tell me, how they can’t employ me for now, I suddenly get used to the word, we will contact you when needed” its so unfortunate, but I do hope they understand the system can’t be jumped and one doesn’t really determine financial muscle, while a student.

If you are currently, 25, in any university currently on strike, as we are accustomed to, If you are also in 300l to 400l, and of which the strikes aren’t even ending anytime soon, this kind of story might put you in a mood where the panic button might be pressed, thereby putting you in some sort of unnecessary pressures. Now you probably will graduate from your school at the age of 26, and some months close to 27, that is if there are less strikes, or the school session isnt paused by some unseen circumstances, using COVID, as a case study.

You likely will go for the one year compulsory service, since you are not yet 30years of age, then be through with service, at the ages of 27-28, thats some 1year and approximately, some nine months after the ages of 26, the trending age of employability, now if you don’t have any connection, if you don’t have any handicrafts which you engage yourself into, while in school, which is a stress already, what do you do as a fresh graduate from a reputable school? Do not even forget, that you are even 26, there isn’t even a job waiting for you, due to the high labour force, and fierce competition for jobs already into extinction, comparing to the advanced world.

At least this stigma of age factor has contributed, a whopping 15.4% of the almost jobless youths roaming around with their certificate, simply because they are beyond the age 26″
Don’t let us tag all the graduate as unfit for employment, even though many cant defend what they own, but having held constructive conversation, with graduates, Masters holders, and Bsc and the rest, I realised not all are really dumb, some are very good at what they graduate with, but the society is pushing them to the lower echelons of life, this might also be frustrating to the ones yet to graduate, but already beyond the age tagged above, so I ask, where are we rushing to, and what justification have we laid down, to prove the reason why such age, is what we use to determine who to employ and who not to.

At one time, the nation newspaper once wrote, Sometimes in 2013, Tue July 2, KPMG International, a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services advertised job vacancy for graduate trainee copied on http://www.hotnigerianjobs.com with job reference number J2013. With 100 slots available in Lagos, the company requested that interested candidates should posses’ first class or second class (Upper) in any discipline, five O’level credits (including English & Math) at one sitting with an age ceaveat: “Not more than 26 years.” this is to let us know, such trend has been affecting many people from time past, some few lucky ones, had to depend on visa lotteries, as a way of finally securing a better life.

In contrast to Nigeria point of view, our educational system is even ragged beyond redemption currently, now our investors are seeking for 3-6years experience, and they seems even more confused by laying down ages of 24-26, where then do you get the experience, are they implying you start your academic career, immediately you are born, worst still most of this jobs we are clamouring to get, in developed countries, they are now pushing them to the back pages of history, as technology seems to be on the rise, banks now use less human power, sales firms now reduce its employed human capacity replacing it with delivery drivers,since transactions are now carried out online. The food firms, now spend more on machines and robots, to rebrand and package their goods, forgetting the human power, now calculations meant for statistics graduate, are now been evicted and replaced with humanoids, yet in Nigeria, this are the jobs, our yet “To be graduates” are all fighting for, and hopelessly here comes the age factor, I am therefore urged to say, sooner or later, education in this country might be an issue where we nonlonger prioritize, and if you doubt my argument, you can check the allocation for education for the past 10years, never have we cross the 10% border, how much more the 26%, laid down universally.

Now we complain of increase in cyber crimes, higher ungodly way of making riches, thuggery, which is now on a geometrical progression in the political space, criminal in form of stealing and robbery, daylight as we have never witnessed before, baby factories and prostitution which is now becoming a trend, with legality in some countries.

Research and observations has given the results that, most of the culprits are youths between the ages of 25-35, however in some cases more than the ages narrated above, some are scrutinized to a point that they graduated with good results, but couldn’t get offers, and while we blame this to the government and overpopulation, we shouldn’t forget the big industries, companies and places where this age sydrome has cause some havoc, this individuals are therefore frustrated to level where they vent their anger on the society, such are the people who do what we term, criminal offence.

To this effect, I did advise the public investors, private organizations, owners of big firms, to increase the age factor or even better take away this barrier, of this limited age, except in some cases whereby the individual is either health wise not fit, or has attained the retirement age for civil servants, and this should also be made compulsory to all private sectors, even though in comparison to the government workers, they are just the minority.

This way, we might be reducing the high unemployment rate, and whereby more creative minds are harbour into the derailing Nigerian system, and even importantly,  to let organizations know age is a pointless barrier, if truly they are not exploiting the Nigerian labor market.

Kareem Itunu Azeez, writes from Lagos State University
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