Youth unemployment in Nigeria – currently at 42%, according to the National Bureau of Statistics - is a major developmental challenge in the country. Unemployment in Nigeria is caused partly by a dearth of decent jobs as well as job seekers lacking the skills required for gainful employment in the labour market.
The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund is addressing unemployment through its employability support program targeted at developing the skills and competencies of youth in Lagos State for various in-demand skills. Principal beneficiaries are youth (18-35 years) in Lagos State, including those with disabilities. Implementing partners are vocational training centres and employers. Technical partners are the United Nations African Development Foundation, United Nations Development Program, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (Skills for Prosperity), Lagos State Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, Lagos State Technical and Vocation Education Board.
The LSETF employability support program started in 2018 and is currently still active.
Good practice approach
The project’s unique approach to TVET involves a holistic end-to-end pathway from skills to decent jobs. TVET colleges are private training centres that are partnered with and funded specifically for the training of selected youths for a specified duration. Request for proposals (RFP) are issued to these training centres. The successful applicants are chosen primarily on their capacity to train and the prospect of job placement by their graduates.
In respect of trainees, calls for interest are invited across the state with clearly defined criteria. Applicants are then screened and successful candidates are trained for the specified period and provided with access to internship opportunities.
At the inception of the programme, consultations were held with a consortium of business partners to offer co-development, delivery, and placement opportunities. With input from business partners, the program worked with ArcSkills (a technical partner that managed the training via interface with the training centres) to develop industry-focused curricula for the various sectors that address the industry skills required. The trades in which youth are trained are plumbing, fashion designing, beauty, solar installation, agent banking and waste recycling, among others. At the end of the 12-week training period, beneficiaries are either placed in internships or given starter kits to start their own businesses.
To ensure quality delivery of the programme, access to funding and infrastructure to partner vocational training institutions, improving existing infrastructure and acquiring new tools and equipment were provided. Institutional capacity was improved by providing reskilling and upskilling sessions for trainers.
Lastly, access to decent jobs has been embedded into the programme, providing post-training job placement and entrepreneurship opportunities. Working with our business partners, internships and placements to certified graduates of the programme are provided.
- Over 14,000 young persons have been trained in various trade skills and over 5,000 placed in jobs These jobs are paid, entry-level internship roles in both formal and informal, small and medium scale enterprises across the state. Of the 14,000 trained young people, 56% are women.
- About 5% of the best trainees are given start-up kits to create self-employment and subsequently, further jobs.
- Supported over 25 vocational training centres with access to infrastructure. An example was the procurement of training machinery and facelift of the training centres.
- An annual commitment of $1 million by LSETF to LSETF/USADF employability project during the project phase was made.
- Being able to leverage on public sector support and partner with the private sector to train young people.
- Funding partnerships with multilateral organizations such as Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (Skill for Prosperity), United Nations Development Program (UNDP); United States African Development Foundation (USADF).
- Creating a pathway from the classroom to jobs through the buy-in of the private sector and trade associations.
- Building a robust LMIS platform that can provide near real-time data regarding skills in demand from employers of labour.
- Using impact assessments and leveraging data to boost current partner confidence as well as position LSETF for other funding and partnership opportunities both locally and globally.
- Lack of reliable and holistic data on unemployment in Lagos State. Having identified this barrier, the project is currently working with technical partners to build a labour market information system (LMIS) that will provide real-time information from both the demand and supply segments of the job market. Together with partners, a centralised and holistic information management system is being built to provide insights on labour market activities.
- In terms of partnerships, a challenge with dealing with global partners has been our position as a subnational agency, since the majority of global partners prefer to work with sovereign nations.
- In terms of access, the challenge of reaching people with disabilities as well as people residing in the remote areas.
Our goal is to sustain the project by maintaining existing relationships with current partners while also seeking new partnerships with local and/or international organizations committed to the promotion of youth employment.
LSETF/UNDP Graduation Ceremony
Director, Strategy, Funding and Stakeholder Management