By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA – SOME universities in the United Kingdom, recently organised a career fair aimed at affording Nigerians who studied in the UK the opportunity of meeting direct with top employers of labour in Nigeria.
The career fair,tagged:”Nigerian Talent, UK Education”,held at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja,according to its organisers,was also intended to providing opportunity for some Nigerians who want to further their studies in the UK get basic information needed from various universities and make informed decisions.
The event,according to representatives of the 19 UK universities that organised it,was also to showcase the talent and skills of the students trained in the UK.
Some of the UK universities involved in the project are universities of Essex;Birmingham;Cardiff; Nottingham; Salford; Southampton; Sterling; Sussex; Cardiff Metropolitan; Central Lancashire;Glasgow;Newcastle; Loughborough; Portsmouth; Robert Gordon; Nottingham Trent and Glasgow Caledonian
Ms Emma Tarrant, Regional Manager,West African External Relations, University of Nottingham, speaking at the two-day event held at Sheraton Hotel,Abuja, explained that the objective of the career fair was to link students in the UK with employers as well as getting them quality jobs.
Hear her:What we do for our students in the UK is that we link them with employers as well as offer them high quality education.
“This is an extension of what we offer our students in the UK,to be able to link them with employers in Nigeria. We had reached out to alumni and invited them and we have also reached out to our alumni that work in different organisations to also come to meet with their members.”
According to her,”Over 300 alumni and 15 companies registered to participate in the event.”
She explained that public and private companies as well as foreign organisations participated at the event.
“What we do with our students in the UK is to link them with their employers as well as offer them a high quality education.
“So a good number of our alumni return to Nigeria, they want to work in Nigeria. They want to use the good skills they used in the UK to benefit organisations and business development in Nigeria.
“This is an extension of what we offer our students in the UK to be able to also connect them with employers here in Nigeria.”
She spoke further:” We have 19 UK universities involved in today’s event. We reached out to our alumni to invite them to this event. We also reached out to our alumni that work in different organisations to come and meet with our recent graduates.”
Speaking further,she assured that :”We promised to make this an annual event. Last year,we had this event in Lagos. This year,we decided to have it in Abuja. Next year,we will probably have two events,one in Lagos and the other in Abuja.”
“For us,what we are looking at is encourage employers and street graduates to come together and find a common ground for both of them. It’s a win-win for Nigeria,and that’s what I’m excited about really.
“For today’s event,we have over 300 alumni registered to come through and there is no limit to the number of alumni that will come through. Some of them are already employed but they are looking at other opportunities, some of them are looking to understand how different sectors work,”she added.
The UK higher education statistics,she said, showed that in 2017 only, about 13,000 Nigerians were studying in the UK, adding that statistics equally showed that about 15,000 registered alumni had studied in the participating UK universities in the past ten years.
Speaking on how capital flight can be addressed in the country,Arinze Odiari, Regional Officer, International Office, University of Essex,said:”A lot of people, both young and old who have gain world-class experience by studying,by training wherever globally in the UK and other countries, have the needed skills to actually bring back to the country.
“They are company organisations who are employing expertriate to fill some positions but the truth is that things like this, gathering like this helps organisations to see the vast number of young people and old people who have world-class experiences,who they can actually tap into,so it’s not a competitive thing, it’s not a clash in that aspect,it is a win-win for everybody.
” This is our country,we are not a racist country, Nigerians should also be at the forfront of the country’s change and development and I believe that is what this organization’s event is set out to achieve.”
Emphasizing on what the country can do to address issue of unemployment,he said:”For us and for me really, is about what can we all do to address this issue? Time after time, people talk about governnent but as individuals,as organisations,as groups,we need to do a lot, we need to get involved.
“And how can we get involved? I don’t think these day to day organisations don’t need staff, they really do. What perhaps has always been the issue is that they looking for the right people to fill up the posts,the openings and the positions in the companies and organisations.
“So, what we have done is to bring a percentage of what we have, graduates that have world-class education and experience. They are here open and willing to fill up all these positions,so talk to them,pick them up and then cover up that space.
“They are equally other aspects and other people that can fill up these positions as well because there is always this thing about brain drain,of people not being able to match the positions with their qualifications and all of that but we are saying we have a percentage,we have a pool that can do that for you, so you are really not missing,it is about meeting the right people at the right place. So, with ventures like this, with event like this, hopefully,we will cover up that gap.”