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Building Life Skills

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IMAGE: Redeemed Christian Church of God, »


Chiemelie Ezeobi reports on the efforts of a UK-based life skills coach to prepare children at an early stage of life to succeed
At the City of David, a highbrow branch of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Victoria Island, Lagos, teenagers gathered for the second edition of the life skill summer camp for young people. They all looked curious and ready to learn.

Although with different personalities and aspirations, the kids ranging from 11 to 16 years of age, however had one thing in common; they want to better their lot and be prepared for whatever curves and edges life might throw at them as they grow up.

The camp which is currently ongoing and will last till August 29, 2014, is an opportunity for budding stars to prepare themselves in areas like effective communication, decision-making and most importantly, money management, among several others.
Championed by Impact Pro, a United Kingdom-based youth training provider, the summer camp has partnered with Nigerian schools to offer life skills training for young people.

According to the organiser, the UK-based life skills coach, Mrs. Kunbi Adeola, she saw the need to kick-off the camp last year, because she saw the necessity to prepare children from an early stage when they can easily absorb teachings.
She said: "We had the pilot program last year and it was a success. In fact, some of those that joined us this year were those that benefited from our package last year.

"I started this when I noticed that a lot of people come out from school and are unemployed. They might be brilliant, but employers see them as unemployable, even when they have job vacancies in their companies.
"It was based on this that we started the idea of a life skill camp like is obtainable abroad and here, for two weeks we train them on critical life skills."

Although parents often wish for a better and more stable future for their children and society for her young people, she said the words of Franklin D Roosevelt, who once said that 'we cannot build the future for our youth – but we can build our youth for the future', couldn't be any truer.

According to her, the message is simple, which is that every child must be taught life skills before leaving school.
She said: "The social and personal development of young people must become as much a priority as their academic development. To build one without the other is to disadvantage them in the global economy and deprive them of the necessary tools to seize both local and global opportunities.

"In life, all parents want for their children is to succeed in life. But the question is what does it take to succeed in work and life in the 21st century; Good grades and a good degree or qualifications?
"These, while a necessity, are no longer enough to guarantee success, as evidenced by millions of unemployed young graduates languishing in unemployment queues worldwide."

She added: "With the changes in the global economy, financial meltdowns and a host of challenging situations, times are tough! The skills of yesteryears which got many of our parents the successes they had will not be enough for success in today’s fast changing world.

"Employers seeking to do more with less ask more of their workforce and are therefore more demanding of job candidates. Candidates are expected to have both great qualifications and a robust set of life and business skills necessary for success in the workplace.
"Young people on the other hand are leaving school with good qualifications but little else in the way of skills that’s needed in the workplace and life. With the result that many do not have the skills that employers are seeking and are consequently failing to find suitable employment after years of hard work and studying to achieve good grades."

Quoting the recent survey of International staffing company Adecco, which stated that of the employers surveyed, “44 per cent of respondents cited soft skills, such as communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration, as the area with the biggest skill gap. Only half as many say a lack of technical skills is the main point."

She further said the present day reality is that focusing on academic skills alone is too narrow, adding that for young people to achieve their full potential, both academic and life skills must be taught taking cognizance of the demands of the world they are growing up in.
"Unfortunately schools struggle to get through their curricula and only have time to focus on imparting academic skills which, sadly leaves a gap in the education of our young people. This is a gap which parents must seek to bridge elsewhere.

If our young people are to succeed in the 21st century, they must develop a robust set of skills, referred to as life skills, to complement their qualifications. To name a few, they must master communicating effectively; they must be critical thinkers and problem solvers. "They need to develop collaborative expertise, self- management skills, gain proficiency in a second language and be creative innovators.

"In survey after survey, employers state that students are lacking in communication, interpersonal, organizational and the problem solving skills that they need to cope with the demands and pressures of the modern day workplace.
"When compared with academic skills, life skills are given little or no attention because they are perceived as woolly and less important than the three Rs that parents emphasize and schools concentrate on.

"However in terms of future relevance, if one is to look back on how relevant to our future many of the subjects we were taught in school are, we would realize that many people had little use for these subjects in later life," she opined.

Recalling with nostalgia her early days in school, she said she certainly cannot remember how many times she ever used the Algebra and Trigonometry she strived to learn at school as opposed to the values she derived from the life  skills she applies to daily situations and challenges that crop up in her life. 

She said, "Life skills are a key requirement of the future workplace and its incorporation needs to start with educating children from secondary school. It may be hard to fit into the curricula which is why a collaborative approach with other organisations maybe the way to go for many schools

"It is the responsibility of the older generation to prepare young people for the demands of the new normal world they are growing up in. There is a need to be intentional and strategic in providing young people with the skills required in the 21st century workplace.

"The shift in many nations from manufacturing and agrarian-based economies to the Information/Service based economy together with worldwide economic challenges has altered the nature of today’s workplace and the skills required to succeed there.
"Unfortunately, little has been done to address the corresponding need for a shift or expansion in skills now needed. The workplace of the future will be digital, fast paced, evolving and more global.

"Nations in the west are rapidly skilling their young people with life and employability skills to ensure they are employable and competitive in the global economy."

Leaning on the 2009 remarks of President Barack Obama which said, 'I’m calling on our nation’s governors and state education chiefs to develop standards and assessments that don’t simple measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem solving and critical thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity', she said the idea of concentrating on academic skills only in a constantly changing world is outdated.

Adeola could not help but reiterate the fact that now is the time to equip the young people with the tools they need to succeed and thrive in the 21st century.

She therefore called on all schools to fully invest in the success of its students by embracing the teachings of life skills now.

Quote: I started this when I noticed that a lot of people come out from school and are unemployed. They might be brilliant, but employers see them as unemployable, even when they have job vacancies in their companies

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago

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Tags:     City of David     Redeemed Christian Church of God     Victoria Island     Lagos     Mrs. Kunbi Adeola