A POPULAR adage says that giving a cup of water to the monkey is not the issue but getting your cup back. This can be likened to the situation of graduates in Nigeria today. Graduating from the university, is no longer the issue but life after school.
Thousands of young people graduate from the universities every year but only very few get meaningful jobs. One of the reasons adduced by employers for the high unemployment rate among graduates in Nigeria is that they are unemployable as they lack the requisite skills.
So to help solve this problem, the American University of Nigeria (AUN), apart from training the students to be problem solvers as Africa’s future leaders, goes a step further by organising career fairs during which it brings together employers of labour, its alums and students.
AUN which prides itself as a development university believes that a university should go beyond awarding its graduates degrees. It should also take pride in helping them to chart career paths, make choices, and prepare them for careers.
This year’s fair, the seventh in the series, featured about 39 multinational companies from the telecom, oil & gas, power, transport, health,and other sectors, including Airtel, ExxonMobil, PricewaterhouseCoopers, EgyptAir, British American Tobacco, Nadabo Energy, L5lab, Nigeria Bottling Company, Education USA, General Electric International, Richfield Technologies Ltd, Voice of Nigeria, Teasy Mobile, Sci-fie Ltd, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Stallion Group, Newage Network, etc.
In addition to participating in the fair, companies like Dangote Cement, McKinsey & Company (which tests AUN students and alums every year), Proctor & Gamble, NIPCO, KPMG, Deloitte, Intels (Nigeria) Ltd, and Leadership Newspaper took turns to administer aptitude and problem-solving tests to AUN students, alumni, and other prospects. Those who scale the hurdles at the end of the day will get places as employees or interns.
To prepare the students/alums for the fair proper, AUN’s Career Services Office had held résumé writing workshops and mock interviews for participants, while scouting for and maintaining close liaison with interested companies. This year’s event which took place at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja, featured an alumni networking reception which brought together all participants to socialize in a more relaxed setting.
This gathering, according to the organisers, was the brainchild of AUN Alumni Association led by Verse Shom, Class Speaker of the university’s pioneer students and current Associate Director of Admissions. Speaking at the event, Coordinator of Career Services, Ms. Grace Nwokoma said: “It is a platform for students and alums to connect with companies, business leaders, government agencies, captains of industry, and diplomatic missions throughout Nigeria, to explore internship and employment opportunities.”
She noted that the annual fair is open to AUN alums and students from second to final year. While some graduating seniors explore job opportunities, others seek internship openings in order to gain the experience required for future jobs.
“We believe that this event will better expose corporate representatives to the next generation of Nigeria’s future stars and industry leaders. The AUN alumni body comprises highly talented, smart, and enterprising young individuals who are self-motivated and goal-oriented,” said Shom.
Before the Fair proper, the Career Services Office had held résumé writing workshops and mock interviews for participants, while scouting for and maintaining close liaison with interested companies. The choice of Abuja for this year’s Fair is for the comfort of much of corporate Nigeria. In the past, AUN has held career fairs in Lagos, the nation’s commercial capital, and Yola. (Vanguard)