The Concept Of Youth Empowerment: Skills, Need And Importance

Table Of Contents

1. Meaning Of Empowerment
2. Different Ways Of Empowering People
3. The Need For An Empowerment Programme
4. Youth Employment
5. Why Must The Youth Be Empowered Alongside The Male And Female
6. Youth Empowerment Skill
7. Types Of Intellectual Skills
8. Factors That Enhance Intellectual Skill
9. Communicative Skills In The Traditional Societies
10. Communicative Discoveries That Have Enhanced Our Living
11. Importance Of Communicative Skill
12. Importance And Benefits Of Youth Empowerment ( Skill Acquisition )

Meaning Of Empowerment

Empowerment is an economic and labour concept which means the impartation of labourial skills and sensitivity to an able-bodied, mentally fit individual or group of individuals to enable them participate in the harnessing and distribution of economic and social resources for meaningful self-benefits and the improvement of our society.

This means that to empower an individual is to train, educate, cause him to acquire a means of livehood or skill in order to enable him to live usefully and optimally in that society. It means inducting somebody into a life sustaining occupation or profession to enable him or her fight the challenges of poverty, scarcity of resources and boredom.

Different Ways Of Empowering People

1. Educating Them: This means allowing or enabling them to acquire the necessary basic education. Basic education introduces one to life-coping skills and allows one the benefits of socializing with the world around him. The main objective of the Nigeria basic education system as contained in the UBE Act, 2004 stipulates that:

“Every learner who has gone through Nine years of basic education should have acquired appropriate level of literacy, numeracy, manipulative, communicative and lifelong skills as well as ethical, moral and civic values needed for laying a solid foundation for lifelong learning, as the basic for scientific and reflective thinking”

2. Teaching Them Entrepreneurial Skills: By this, we mean training them into various trades, occupations, and professions. The essence of education is to give one a worthwhile skill. Some people are multitalented and can learn many skills to create wealth. Others must have to fit into an occupation to be able to earn a living. One may be an artisan, semi-skilled or skilled ( professional ) worker. Those in the artisan group include the shoe menders, street sweepers, labourers, traders, peasant farmers etc.

Those that are semi-skilled are drivers, masons, tailors, electricians technicins, etc while the skilled or professionals include professional teachers, surveyors, doctors, engineers, priests, administrators, technologists, computer experts and a host of others.

3. Indoctrinating Them:
Indoctrination means the process of making an individual acquire self-sustaining conscience. It is a process of helping him internalize worthwhile values, morals, faith in God and society and the needed discipline to cope with social demands in life. Moral and social values remain the hub of one’s conscience, directing him lead a purposeful life and to channel the rescores within his reach towards self- development and community service.

The Need For An Empowerment Programme

Even before the advent of the British colonialists, Nigerians received what was known as traditional or informal education. Families trained their children and wards in the occupations with which the families were known.

In some areas or cases the children were also trained in the occupations of their choice or which their parents felt they fitted most into. Everyone, whether able or disable, was meant to have a skill. Some of the skills prevalent then include: fishing, farming, carving, trading, trado-medicine, orthopedic or bone setting skill, weaving, wine tapping, divination, hunting, black-smiting, soldiering etc.

As the society develops, the white man’s system of education, commerce, trade and investment were introduced, new skills were needed to match up with the modern needs and environment, and the need to teach people the new skills became pertinent (obvious). Some old skills became irrelevant and outdated due to the overwhelming modern technology, techniques and science. The youth, particularly, had to be empowered to cope with the new situation, or risk being redundant, irrelevant and old fashioned.

Government encouraged the building the modern schools and laboratories, skill acquisition centers, workshops and technical centers. The new developmental tends in Nigeria demand that people learn new and better skills if they are to compete favourably with the rest of the world skills keep changing or keep being modernized as a result of findings, discoveries and invention in science and technology, leading to new ways of doing things or relating with people.

In order to prepare the youth and keep them in tune with relevant skills, Empowerment programmes remain one of the cardinal objectives of government so as to sustain its development programmes. People require these Empowerment Programmes to enable them achieve the following:

1. Solve Problems Of Nature:
Skills are used in problem solving situations; only those with good skills are gainfully employed and paid handsomely. Gainful employment is one of the surest ways of alleviating poverty and encourages economic and social development.

2. Develop Their Immediate Environment: With quality skills people are able to construct roads, build modern house, establish recreational parks and centers, beautify their surroundings etc.

3. Fight Boredom And Restiveness: Empowering a person creates in him a sense of patriotism, satisfaction and self-fulfillment. This, in turn, engenders peace and order since one is gainfully employed. It reduces incidents of bickering.

4. Promotion of Resourcefulness, talent development innovation and initiative among the youths.

5. Transfer of skills to younger generation to make them develop sense of commitment and dedication to nation building.

6. Have good training ground on leadership, followership and governance in an organized society.

7. To look down on and discourage social vices such as harlotry, armed robbery. Touting, begging etc which only social misfits engaging in.

8. Make governance easy, except people are gainfully employed and are alive to their responsibilities it might not be easy for government to raise the required funds or taxes to embark on meaningful projects and programmes for the welfare of the citizens.

Youth Empowerment

Youth Empowerment is an idea or programmes fashioned to enable the youths learn skills, trade or profession. It is inherent in the idea of training and education.

Educating the youth means to comprehensively empower their intellects, sense of perception and the manipulative abilities while emphasizing their effective development and use of lifelong skills.

Training the youths, most often refers to youth Empowerment.
Youth Empowerment can be seen as an attempt or response to the development challenges of Nigeria. Youth Empowerment aims of laying a solid foundation for sustainable poverty reduction, employment generation, wealth creation and value reorientation.

The concept of youth empowerment arose when Nigeria saw that level of socio-economic and political decay was reaching an alarming stage while oil bunkering, ritual killing, kidnapping, militancy ballot box snatching, falsification of election results, thuggery, car snatching, child stealing, open day robbery, corruption in the high and low places including those in our roads, etc, posed great challenges to growth and development of the country.

The federal Government of Nigeria, in 1987, established the National Directorate of Employment ( NDE) and in 1999, the National Poverty Eradication Programme ( NAPEP) as institutions charged with the Youth Empowerment Schemes. In the same 1999, the Federal Government came up with a programme on Economic reforms called (NEEDS) NationaL Economic, Empowerment and Development Strategy. Aimed at bringing about economic reforms, growth and development through developing all the various sectors of the economy. Youth Empowerment was the main Focus of NEEDS.

NEEDS have four key Goals which among others include:

1. Poverty Reduction/Eradication Strategy: This is targeted at the basic needs of the people and reduction in poverty level on sustainable basis. It created opportunities and the enabling environment for people to improve their economic status.

* Job Creation: This is done through the acquisition of lifelong skills and training.

*Value Orientation: By changing and re-orienting our value system through the National Orientation Agency (NOA) through re-instilling some virtues and values like honesty, discipline, hard work, selfless services, patriotism and good moral up-bringing in the citizenry.

* Wealth Generation and Using Education to empower the people.

NEEDS is also creating opportunities and the enabling environment and infrastructures that will enable the people, particularly the youth, to engage in production of goods and services, thereby creating wealth for the people (youth) and the nation.

NEEDS believes so much in using education in empowering the people through training, skills acquisition and formal education, when people are educated, they think positively, create things and initiate ideas and actions that are good, valuable, productive and make one sound, strong, self-reliant and an employer of labour.

The NDE and NAPEP institutions charged with youth empowerment schemes are on course. They admit unemployed youths for training into various trades.

On graduation, they are assisted to establish their workshops, or business centers to enable them become economically self-reliant self-sustaining and viable. Many youths under the programmes have acquired specialized skills in barbing, wielding, black-smiting Masonry, heavy duty machines, motor operators, printing and publishing, book binding, shoe making, poultry farming, snailery, painting, artwork and mosaics. Fashion and designing, music and studio management, modeling, casting computer engineering and operations, mechanics, electrical, audio- visual and handset technology aluminum works, carpentry and wood works, cylophenco and polythene bag making, catering, bakeries and confectioneries etc.

These and a host of others empower the youths to participate in the economic activities and development of their society thereby giving them a sense of well feeling, belonging and of relevance.

Why must the youth be empowered alongside the Adult Male and Female?

The answer to the above question can be any or all the followings.
* To prepare smoothly for generational or paradigm shift.

* To assign roles and responsibilities to the youth and future leaders and, thereby intensifying their leadership competence.

* To induct them into adulthood culture and experience.

* To enable them have objectives, values and priorities to pursue.

* To give them that spiritual, mental and social satisfaction and sense of belonging.

* To enable them benefit from the creative abilities of the youths, i.e. discoveries from information and Community Technology (ICT).

* To enable them co-operate with government vision, mission and programmes.

* To enable them think towards self actualization.

Youth Employment Skills

In order to increase the skill bases of children and youth and empower then for future prosperity the educational system was reformed, with the curriculum reviewed and restructured to bring it in line with the strategic objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) and NEEDS which placed emphasis on the empowerment of the people using education.

The new curriculum contents of the 9 year Basic Education have been prepared with these targets in mind. The essence of youth empowerment skills is to help the youth achieve gainful employment. Employment is of two kinds namely: Self-employment and Public or Civil service employment.

Self-employment is the act or practice of doing a business that is protected by law for a living without working under anybody. The self-employed person is independent of any existing job that the government or public sector has created for people to do. Self employed people have business or enterprises of their own and most often they are employers of labour, land, capital, etc. as factors of production. They do not seek for government paid jobs.

In the most recent times, Government and non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) place much emphasis and interest on self-employment because of its ability to expand, and other benefits.

To actualize this desire, the Federal Government put in place a lot of programmes like the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS).
National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP). National Directorate For Employment (NDE).

Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to provide the enabling environment and necessary infrastructures for people to be self-employed and self-reliant. Self-employment works well or thrives when certain qualities such as creativity, hard work, self-confidence, honesty, consistency, commitment, vocational education are found in self employed people.

Self- employed people are taught to be diligent, skillful, innovative, resourceful and possess other good virtues that will enable them manage their businesses or the available resources and achieve good results. The empowerment skills can be said to be to five kinds namely: Life coping skills, manipulative skill intellectual skill, communicative skills and artistic skills.

i. Life Coping Skills: These are natural skills which every organism including man, acquired from birth to adapt fittingly in his or its environment. They are survival instincts or skills. They are natural things we do to survive, avert danger and assert our individuality e.g crude farming, running on an errand, hunting, learning to make shelter, avoiding conflict etc.

These skills graduate from simple crude forms to a move complex learned and modernized forms. Todays many youths have acquired life coping skills in politics, religion, business, agriculture etc . In politics nigerian youths feature prominently.

The new democracy saw to the election of many young males and female into State and national assemblies. Religious institutions, today, engage many youths in the leadership and followership programmes church planting has become a way giving employment and reducing unemployment among the youths.

In business, economic activities which involves production distribution, exchange and consumption of goods and services are more in the hands of youths, who acquired the right type are in livestock production, cropping, fishing piggery etc. The create goods that tend to solve their practical problems and the needs of others, thereby creating satisfaction in themselves and society at large.

ii. Manipulative Skill: This is the ability of a worker to handle any object with the appropriate control and speed of movement needed by the task. Manipulative skills today are acquired in acquisition centers such as technical schools computer centers, field events, mining, manufacturing, technological work, scientific experiment construction, engineering, productive ventures gadgets and machines manipulation(whether digital or analogue) building, wielding carpentry, mechanics etc.

Virtually, 90% of all occupations are manipulative or have manipulative components. Every manipulative activity brings the leaner or worker into using the sense organs of touching, hearing, seeing, smelling etc. All these expose the worker or learner to acquire real practical transformation of the individual and his society.

iii.Intellectual Skills: These skills are coordinative in theoretical frame work that guides the practical aspects of the works, economic and scientific undertakings. In the primary sense, it is called brain work.

Without the intellectual skill no other skills can function as they are the master-minds, motivators and co-ordinators of all human actions and reactions. It is the engine of all activities generating the initiatives and innovation in all designs.

Nigerian youths are playing active roles in the intellectual and professional acquisition of skills. In the universities and research centers, many youths are distinguishing themselves and putting their names in the annals of history as scholars, authors, scientists, computer experts etc.

They have consistently assumed the position of harbingers in the world of digital operations. Among a great number of youths that made academic or intellectual achievements are Olu Ogbuibe, who at 36 years, became a professor of library Arts in one of America’s renowned universities. Philip Emeagwali, computer whiz-kid with his operational base in the United States of America and Aloy Chife Director of inform-services at Euro Energy Centre, Houston, Texas. He also formed a website to link African producers to American market known as African Market (AM).

Types Of Intellectual Skills

1. Mathematical Reasoning: This is the ability to calculate and analyze with the abstract pattern. It involves the use of numbers and symbols to mentally work out results.

2. Descriptive Ability: This is the ability to describe things, issues and events in one’s environment. Concepts of colour, shape size etc are learned from infancy. Descriptive ability increases with age. Example an adult can describe accurately the noise hos motor engine is making.

3. Inductive Reasoning: This is the use of particular facts and examples to form general rules, principles and inferences. Related to this is Deductive Reasoning which is using knowledge about things that are generally true in order to think about and understand particular problems or situations.

4. Vocabulary Ability: This is the ability to use and explain vocabularies or words. We acquire more vocabularies as we continue to expand our reading ability. This more we read the more we imbibe new words. Adults can correctly use vocabularies because of long time experience and practice.

factors That Enhance Intellectual Skill

* Challenging environment.
* Good health
* Enabling environment such as opportunities like security, learning materials, good roads, electricity, medical facilities etc.
* Qualified instructors.
* abilities to learn. That is readiness in the learners.

a. Communicative Skills:
Communication is a very important aspect of our life. Man evolved communication skills as a social being to enable him pass or send information from one person to the other or from one place to another.

Communities Skills assist the intellectual skills to be expressed adequately and specifically communicative skills take various forms and shapes. To transfer skills to people one needs a good communicative skill. A group project or a public program me can only be properly executed when the project is well communicated to the people concerned. Economic and social activities are meaningfully carried out when the target group are reached with the appropriate intellectual touch. Every trade or profession has its own language, signs, symbols etc.

Communicative Skills In The Traditional Societies

* Speech and Language
* Body signs
* Gun shots
* Smoke signals
* Town criers
* Wooden and metal gongs

In modern world, we talk about communicative skills in information and Communication Technology (ICT). This refers to the body of knowledge that involves the use of systems to process, store and transfer information. By means of technology and invention, some modern technological products in our communicative activities with one another have been made easier, fast and effective.

Through the technological products, aspects of our human lives like education, business, politics, religion, health etc. have greatly added more meaning to our lives.

Communicative discoveries that have enhanced our living include:

1. Radio: This was invented in 1895 by Gugliein Marchese Mercon.

2. Telephone:
This was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876.

3. Television: Television was in invented in 1926 by John Logics Baid, while Vladimar improved communication worldwide.

The digital computer came to improve communication in 1944 by Edward Aiken. The mobile phone or G.S.M. in the 1940s and internet technology in the 1960s by leonard Kleinrock and J.C.R. Licklider. Bill Gates added Microsoft Computer Programmes inventions and improvement in communicative skills globally have turned the world into a global village. Other discoveries that have added to the improvement of communicative skills are world-wide web (WWW) internet, E-mail, E-learning, virtual library, On-line learning, digital literacy informatics literacy etc.

Importance Of Communicative Skills

1. Communicative abilities make for fast and easy means of sending messages from person to person and from place to place.

2. It saves time and labour.

3. It gives efficient and high level service both privately and publicity.

4. Communicative competences accommodate large volumes of information at a time. The radio, television; computer and internet are good examples.

5. It has helped to make the world a global village through its super highway network of interactive services.

6. Communicative skills are of great benefit to students searching for information skills in any area of study.

7. Communicative skills serve as a means of entertainment through its programmes in sports, games, drama, music, fun, etc.

8. Communicative skills help business men and industrialists in the advertisement of their products-goods and services.

9. It helps to release information about existing employment opportunities.

10. Communicative skills are used in accounting purposes and in net work marketing.

b. Artistic skills: These are close to communicative skills and are more complex. They include the art of good writing, fine and applied Arts, Music and Drama. These skills make effective use of all the other four kinds of skills where necessary. Those who employ or have these skills are said to be adepts or experts,examples: Artists, Graphic designers, Musicians, Comedians, Actors, Actresses etc.

Life coping skills agree with the artisan identify, the intellectual skills agree with the manager identity while the rest agree with classical entrepreneur identity. Skills can be generally divided into two namely: Crafts man and Entrepreneurial skills, which tally with the life coping manipulative skills and opportunistic entrepreneurial skills, which match with the intellectual artistic and communicative skills.

Importance and Benefits Of Youth Empowerment (Skill Acquisition)

Empowerment has a lot of benefits to offer the society. Some of these include.

1. It makes for the transfer of skills and work ethics.

2. It gives or adds meaning to life, especially as one is given a position of authority or as one commands respect.

3. It helps to reduce crime rate;
When someone has a skill to trade, he misses the chances of engaging in anti-social behaviour.

4. It leads to self-employment and rapid industrialization.

5. It facilitates the process of nation building and development.

6. One saves money to cater for urgent needs and family matters.

7. It enables one to consider vital tenets and societal values and committing oneself to worthwhile values.

Hindrances to Youth Empowerment

There are factors that contribute to hindering youth empowerment projects. These include the following:

1. Inconsistency in Government Programmes. Lack of consistency in programmes implementation can be a problem to youth empowerment. Leaders with good and well thoughout empowerment programmes for the youths need to ensure to these ideas are put into practice to help the youths participate actively in the development process.

2. Corruptive Tendency: Instructors and personnel in the youth empowerment establishment often collude with the youths and some influential persons to defraud government of huge funds meant to empower the youths. It could also take the form of exploitations and neglecting the need to give opportunities according to quota due to ethnic interest and prejudice. Corruption in the high places have made the NEEDS, SEEDS, NAPEP, NDDC, NDE, etc. to perform below expectation.

3. Paucity of Funds: Often funds released by the government and NGOs are not enough to procure training materials or sustain the interest and needs of the trainees. This can be frustrating enough.

4. Foreign Skills: Some skills are just imported and taught when there may not be a fertile ground to practise them or utilize them. Any person with a foreign skill becomes more confused and less functional in society.

5. Decadent Education System: Transference of skills is basically packaged through good functional educational system. This is unfortunately lacking in Nigeria due to many factors. A non-functional education cannot host successfully an empowerment scheme and cannot ensure efficiency and sustainability.

6. Misplaced Value by some youths and some job seekers: Most youths continue to day dream every day in Nigeria. Some are not willing to learn anu skill, some prefer to learn skill above their abilities; others just want to learn a skill because of those who have succeeded with it. These run contrary to the objectives of skill acquisition as it includes personality development, uniqueness and self-identity.

7. Preferring the youths for odd jobs: Most men would rather prefer the youths to do menial and odd men’s jobs. Most politicians prefer to have these youths trained to snatch ballot boxes, in thuggery and touting and also in running errands for them. They are never prepared to have them learn good professional trades that would make them self-employed. Some prefer dating the young girls to helping them to be self-dependent with brighter future ahead.

8. Lack of personal Determination to succeed: Some youths because of their background or life style; submit themselves to slavery and to ungodly behaviours. They rebuff advice, training and authority, but rather prefer cultism, disobedience and prodigality inspite of all corrective measures. This, on its own, can hinder empowerment efforts.

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