One of the determinants that halt economic growth in any country is the unemployment rate. Unemployment has a negative impact on the economic and political prosperity of a country. In Nigeria, the level of unemployment is with more than 60% of the youths unemployed and over 1.8 million graduates joining the labour market annually.
In a recent data that was published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the unemployment rate was at 14.2% in the last quarter of 2016, up from 13.9% in the preceding quarter. It’s the ninth consecutive quarter that the unemployment rate in Nigeria has increased.
The government agency reported that the rate rose from 13.9 per cent in the third quarter to 14.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Its effects can be seen in the numbers of crime that are perpetrated daily around the country. The insurgents and militants in the country are as a result of youth restiveness and unemployment.
Apart from insufficient numbers of jobs in the country, another challenge that poses greater challenge to most private organizations in building the workforce is the “not-fit-for employment” of the Nigerian employees.
What this impasse means is that a large number of the youths are deficient in the requisite qualities necessary to get and keep a job, and lacking the right skill sets to address work-related challenges.
Managing Director/CEO, Africa Operations, Inlaks, Femi Adeoti, explained that the company considered the setting up of the ATM Academy and the recruitment exercise as a way of giving back to the society.
“We have taken these youths off the streets and trained them. We are helping the society to address the challenge of unemployment by training these youths and turning them into responsible and skillful adults”, he said.
In addressing the unemployment and lack of adequate capacity and skills in Nigeria, Inlaks, a specialist organization in the deployment of dynamic and highly scalable IT infrastructure in Africa, has trained thirteen Nigerian youths on how to build, repair and service Automated Teller Machine [ATM], power solutions, printed circuit board (PCB) and software installation.
The Director of Infrastructure, Business Unit of Inlaks, Tope Dare explained how the school recruits its trainees into the Inlaks ATM Academy.
He said that the company decided to train the youths who are unemployed to fill the vacant positions instead of going through the usual recruitment process.
“About six months ago, we needed to expand our workforce to support our ATMs at the various financial institutions and we had the option of going into the market to recruit.
“I wondered why we should do that at a very high cost to the company when there are many Nigerians who are unemployed and are looking for what to do. I felt we could bring them in, train them and turn them into assets for the company and society. It’s also a way to give back to the community.”
He further said that Inlaks received hundreds of applications when it published its plans to recruit the unemployed youths and that after an online test was conducted, 15 of the youths got the upper hand.
On why it is important to have more ATMs when financial technology companies are coming up with different innovative ideas to discourage the use of cash and government canvassing for cashless society, Dare maintained that Nigeria is still a country where 41.6% Nigerians are financially excluded with adult population of 98 million and 38 million banked Nigerians with only 17,000 ATMs.
“There are long lines of queues at the ATM every weekend and during the holidays. That tells you that ATM ratio density is far from what we have today. Cash is still king. In the Western world, ATMs are still being deployed daily.
“We live in a country where predominantly we still depend on cash. There are still opportunities in deploying ATM. The demand for ATM has been on the increase and we have been installed several ATMs in the last three years. What we have today is not sufficient to meet the needs of the customers and we can’t continue to recruits through the normal route. That’s the reason we set up the ATM Academy to provide for our present and mid-term need of organization”.
Training Manager of Inlaks Academy, Ramon Alabi, who was optimistic about the various trainings the youths had undergone, said that he was very sure the youth would turn out good.
“I am very confident and 100% sure based on the quality of our training that the youth have gone through. The trainings cut across other aspects of ATM support services including technical aspect to the backend operation, customer service operation, the spare part request, the software.”
One of the trainees, Lucky Okorotome, who could not hide his excitement after his graduation, said that the training had given him depth understanding of what it takes to repair and service an ATM.
“We have been here for 6 months and gone through series of trainings from ATM to power solutions, PCBs and software. I know Inlaks would impart knowledge into me. We have been through the practical and theoretical aspect of the training.
“The training has taught us human relations management, customer and communication skills and more”, he said. Okorotome intends to acquire more capacity and deepen his knowledge as he continues his development at Inlaks working as ATM engineer.