5 Reasons Why Skills is More Important than Certificate in Getting Jobs In Nigeria
In my article today, I will be sharing with us on the 5 Reasons Why Skills is More Important than Certificate in getting Jobs in Nigeria? The other day I was talking to a group of young people when one of them asked me a very stunning question, sir! ‘I’ll be graduating from high school this year June and have been thinking what the next step is, acquire a skill or get a college certificate?’ Oh! How I love young people who ask questions, think about the future and are ready to learn. The average Nigerian is otherwise. However, I was taken aback that day because I didn’t have a ready-made answer to give, but today I have something to say and am glad you’re here to learn.
I believe that young man would have been observing his environment and the Nigerian economy very well and perhaps may have heard a lot of things people have said about the ‘skills versus certificate’ debate, so he was confused which path to follow. The truth is, this ‘skills vs certificate’ saga is very subtle. I am sure you would have heard some of your mates say ‘I better acquire a skill and start off than waste years in the quest for certificate’ you would have also heard some say ‘in this country, you cannot do without certificate, if you don’t have a certificate, no one looks at your face’ and as such, they go about acquiring certificates of one program to the other. I am very sure this is one of the things that confused that young man, if care is not taken, it can confuse you too. As a matter of fact, these two categories of people are not wrong in their assertions but they need to understand something which will help them make better choices and it is my belief, that by the time you read this article to the end, you would have gotten this clearer understanding.
There exists a very thin line between skills and certificate; I am sure you may not have known that, but let move on anyways. However, before we go further, let’s understand these terminologies ‘skills and certificate’. Certificate as we know is a document, diploma or credential gotten from schools, organizations etc., as an evidence that one has acquired a certain kind of Knowledge. Furthermore, knowledge refers to the fact of knowing about something; general understanding or familiarity with a subject, place, situation by a person through books, media, encyclopedias, academic institutions and other sources, however, it is mostly through academic institutions or organizations you can be offered a certificate. The definition of knowledge above reminds me of my undergraduate days when some of my lecturers introduce a course by saying ‘this course is just to familiarize you with what is happening in the industry’, and I was wondering then, how, when will I participate, this one am only familiarizing. I know you’ve had similar experience too. On the other hand, skills refer to the ability of using information, knowledge and applying it in a context. Simply put, knowledge refers to theory and skills to successfully applying that theory in practice and getting expected results. Although these two are however interwoven, there are very distinct.
I remember back in my secondary school, probably SS 1, when we were introduced to computer studies; I was very excited knowing that the end of my computer illiteracy has come. The class began, we were all introduced to computer application packages particularly Microsoft Word, we learned about the features, the interface and what can be done with it and other terminologies, so in my mind I know about computer, I know about Microsoft Word and all of that, not until the day I visited a friend who had desktop computer in their house which he has been using, he asked me hey Richie, do you know how to use computer? I said yes we’ve been taught in school! he replied “that means you can use Microsoft Word” I said yes, that was the last topic we learn in school, he said OK, please you’ll help me type this document I want to get my clothes from the tailor! Guess what I did? I had to accept it to save myself from the immediate embarrassment, so he left and it was just me and computer glaring at me. Since the application was already opened I just played with keyboard, typed in some words, but could not do anything aside from that. I could not edit, format or do anything else and when my friend came around to safe myself again of the embarrassment, I told him the system was not responding, hahaha! I hope I didn’t lie, poor me! but that’s what happens when all you have you have is the knowledge (theory) of a particular field or subject but you’ve never get anything done practically and unfortunately that’s what our academics institutions are feeding us with. Knowledge which certificate is a proof of its acquisition is intangible but skills can be made tangible by applying those skills to a context and getting the desired result.
Are you still wandering which one is more relevant? Let me give you this instance, and then enumerate for you to learn the 5 Reasons Why Skills is More Important than Certificate in getting Jobs in Nigeria. Imagine for instance a cousin of yours, a graduate of electrical/electronic engineering pays your family a visit, and just to lure to study engineering and engage you, he begins discussion about engineering how that it is one of the most lucrative profession, maybe to further ‘blow’ your mind he delves into electrical/electronic engineering and begins to explain certain concept probably ‘circuit theory’ and all of that (expressing his knowledge of the subject) all of the sudden, the power goes off (God bless Nigeria!), and fortunately you have a small generating plant in the compound , you went and turn on the power generator as usual but unfortunately the generator was not supplying power to the house, as would be expected you turned to your cousin, what’s happening the generator is not supplying power to the house, what’s wrong? We used the generator this morning! I know at the back of your mind, expect him to do something, at least bring his knowledge to bear and get power supplied to the house but to frustrate you more he begins another series of lectures, imagine how you will feel, if it is me I may lose regards for his certificate because when I needed him to prove that he studied electrical/electronic he failed. Imagine if out of frustration you call on a technician, he comes around touch one or two wires, turn on a switch and there’s light. If these two, graduate of electrical/electronic engineering and the technician were both your cousin, who will you recommend to your close friend for the electrical installation/wiring contract he just gotten? If you’re not bias, you’ll recommend the technician.
So here, I have listed 5 of the most obvious reasons why you should embrace training, skills over certificate, especially in Nigeria.
5 Reasons Why Skills is More Important than Certificate in Getting Jobs In Nigeria
- Productivity: A person who has gone through practical training and has acquired skill is very much productive than someone who just acquire a college certificate because he can get things done ‘sharply’ without recourse to big textbook or encyclopedias. Companies, multinationals, NGOs, government organization, etc. are looking for people who can get things done immediately, proffer solution, implement them and get the desired result. Let me shock you, a SSCE holder who has acquired basic marketing skills can be preferred over a graduate of marketing with no skill, this because there are looking for results and not qualifications.
- Recommendation: like the instance of that electrical/electronic graduate and that technician, if you were to make unbiased recommendation, am sure you will recommend that technician guy. For those that studied physics, am sure you would have learnt a lot about solar energy and power, but it is the person has undergone practical training in solar panel, energy and power installation and is actively practicing that gets the recommendation. Wise up!
- Employability: A man of skills cannot be frustrated except he is not wise. Skills can get you gainfully employed or self-employed, whichever way, you would be employed. Hey in case you did not know, this is one of the reasons third class graduates will be getting jobs and guys with good results are still roaming because they solely on rely their certificate whereas the guy has gone to acquire some skills which gives him added advantage.
- Relevance: I often refer to skills as the ‘way maker’ it has a way of paving way for the carrier of it. Even the scripture says “A man’s gift makes way for him….” If you want to be relevant, get a skill. Have you heard of the phrase “added advantage” in jobs advert? That what skills do! Check around you, who are those making headlines in business/entrepreneurship, career, etc., they are those with relevant skills.
- Confidence: Skills give you the confidence your certificate alone wouldn’t give you. A skillful person speaks with much confidence (this is because he/she don’t only just know, but can do) while the one without is filled with fear.
Are all these to discredit university or college certificate, Oh NO! never, not at all, as matter of fact, academic knowledge or the theory serve as foundation for understanding the practical but knowledge alone will do you no good if you cannot bring it to bear to solve a practical problem and our educational system is not helping matter. To tell you the truth, your certificate alone cannot help you in this present of economy, acquire some skills, it is the way out of unemployment, it is very important.
Let me tell you briefly about a man you may know, my mentor, a telecommunication giant, chairman, ECONET media, Dr. Strive Masiyiwa, while recounting his experience said after his graduation from one the top British university with Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, he had to go through apprenticeship in one electrical service workshop where he learnt basic installation and began installing electrical appliances for client and you can imagine where he is today. You can only know where you start but you don’t know where that skill can get you.
What are you waiting for? Oh, you want me to tell you which one to start off with? You can start anywhere; you can base it on your interest, or field of study, but get started. And please in case you did not know it doesn’t necessarily need to bear such a big name for example ‘management and business strategy expert’ before it can get you a job, no, never. Do you know your ability to work effectively with at least three of Microsoft Office packages can get you a high paying job you wouldn’t otherwise get with just your certificate? Maybe you did not know, just learn that from me. Do you know if you are good at working with graphics packages it can fetch you a job in a multinational? You may be wondering why is he so obsessed with this computer stuff, Dear we are in the digital age where everything is done virtually with computers, however skills are not limited to these, do know your ability to write a report is a skill, I guess you didn’t know speaking is a skill and has gotten someone a job, do you even know to organize data, analyze them is earning people millions? Have you heard about interior decoration, photography, painting? Can you install and repair electrical appliances? These are all skills and not talents, and they are fetching lots of people good paying jobs already. What are you waiting for? or you’re comfortable with your certificate, abi? See, I love you and I will advise you to get a skill, it’s not late, get up!
The economy has challenges and it is waiting for you, with right skills you can help. It was then that certificate mattered so much not now, so if you have a certificate, backed it up with requisite skills and the sky will be your limit. See you at top!
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