King Charles III launches his Prince’s Trust International in Lagos while promising to help thousands of young Nigerians deliver employability, education and enterprise programmes that help them build a sustainable career, Seun Akioye reports
It was not every day that Nurudeen Azzez gets to sit with the Human Resources of some of his dream companies to talk about his prospects of getting a job. Since he completed his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), he has had very little success in getting a job. “I drive Uber now on a part-time basis,” he said, in a barely audible voice. “I completed my NYSC in 2021 in Maiduguri, there I learnt about solar panels repairs and installation which is what I have been doing to make ends meet. I hope I get this job, it will really help me,” Nurudeen said.
The opportunity Nurudeen had was the Get Hired programme which came at the instance of Prince’s Trust International, (PTI) an organisation founded by King Charles III in 2015 to tackle global crisis in youth unemployment and helping young people build a future of their own.
The job fair, which saw over 100 young job seekers connected with potential employers after they had gone through a training on how to successfully answer interview questions from top-tier employers.
Already in 23 countries, the PTI has been working in Nigeria for about 18 months but has only been launched in Nigeria this week. According to the CEO, Will Straw, in that period the organisation has been involved in life-changing programmes for the youths.
“Our ambition in Nigeria is to create life-changing opportunities for young people, aiming to directly support tens of thousands of young people in the years ahead and many more indirectly in their families and communities,” Straw said.
And the results have come in torrents, “In the 18 months that we have been here, 96 percent of young people on our employability programme have found work within three months,” he said.
Nurudeen hoped he could also be part of this amazing statistics, as he waited for another interview with another prospective employer. The Get Hired programme is the first of the programmes that heralded PTI’s launch in Nigeria. Organised in collaboration with the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) and the Fields of Skills and Dreams (FSD), Get Hired connects work-ready job seekers with employers who have entry-level vacancies through a job fair event.
PTI’s intervention in comes at the release of a new data looking at young Nigerians’ attitudes to the future of work, delivered in partnership with YouGov and HSBC . New data from Prince’s Trust International reveals that almost 90% of young Nigerians feel that global increases in the cost of living have impacted them personally. Around three quarters have not had a pay rise to keep up with rising costs.
But the data had always been grim in Nigeria where about 70% of the population is under 30 with youth unemployment at 33%. Many young people remain underprepared to secure their futures, often lacking the life and sector-specific skills necessary to access sustainable livelihoods.
Straw identified three areas where the youths lacked expertise; skills gap, jobs gap and experience gap saying working with Nigerian partners, the Trust is working to close these gaps by focusing on core life skills such as confidence and team work, and working with the private sector to offer work placements.
King Charles agreed with him. In a message read on his behalf by Eva Omaghomi L.V.O., Director of Community Engagement (U.K, Commonwealth and International) to The King and Queen, he said he was inspired by the determination and commitment of the young people in Nigeria, especially, the over 100 job seekers gathered in the room.
King Charles: “I am enormously inspired by the determination and commitment of young people, some of whom you will hear from later. They are changemakers; they will shape the world’s future and we must support them to realise their dreams.
“Looking ahead, I very much hope the important work of Prince’s Trust International and our partners can grow and help many more young people in Nigeria to build brighter futures.”
On the day following the Get Hired event, dignitaries, philanthropists, key stakeholders, partners and beneficiaries of the Prince’s Trust projects gathered again in Lagos for the Launch reception. Hosted by a member of the Africa Advisory Board and Anap founder, Atedo Peterside.
Peterside said the work of the Trust is close to his heart while reflecting on a quote by the King: “Our lives begin to end the moment we keep silent about things that matter,” saying the intervention in the youths is long overdue.
“Young people,” he told the enthusiastic crowd, “have enormous potential to drive prosperity and development across the continent, but only if they have the chance to develop the skills they need to do so. This is why I feel so passionate about the work Prince’s Trust International does. Having delivered their first programme in Africa in 2019, it is wonderful to see so many young people benefitting from programmes in Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and now Nigeria.”
The event was also facilitated by the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos and the Deputy High Commissioner Ben Llewellyn-Jones OBE, said the United Kingdom and Nigeria are achieving a lot working together.
“The UK and Nigeria are achieving a huge amount together, supporting young people to be employment ready, and helping businesses to attract the investment to create the jobs they need.
“With millions of young Nigerians entering the labour market every year, there are simply not enough jobs for them. Organisations like Prince’s Trust International and their local partners, Field of Skills and Dreams and Junior Achievement Nigeria, have an important role to play in supporting young people through education, employment, and enterprise programmes to build their own futures.”
Another member of the Africa Advisory Board and businessman Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede said: “As a long admirer of His Majesty King Charles III’s commitment to building brighter futures for young people, it was my honour to visit Dumfries House in Scotland to discuss the Trust’s work. As the Founder of The Prince’s Trust, His Majesty’s passion and commitment are palpable. I am only too pleased to offer my voice and ability to convene and further build Prince’s Trust International foundations here.”
The evening also featured a panel discussion on the challenges faced by young people in getting a job and experience. However, for those who have passed through the Trust’s training, the story is different. Chigozie Anosie is one of them. From a job seeker two years ago, he got training in solar installation and repairs and got a job. Now, he runs his own solar power company and has become one of the success stories for the Trust.
Chigozie was also one of the 10 young people who were invited by the King to attend his coronation. “The PTI changed my story,” he told InfactNG.
Meanwhile, Nurudeen is optimistic, that one of the three interviews he did would end up in a positive response. “I have the belief that I will get a job from this job fair, I am sure,” he concluded.