Wednesday, January 26, 2011

AGDC Samsung Real Dreams Project: Participants Speak

Samsung Real Dreams Evaluation
Focus Group Discussion- Ikeja
22 January 2011

This is an elementary report on the evaluation project for Samsung Real Dreams Program (SRD);  hosted by AGDC Employability and Enterprise Ltd/GTE.   Please note that the social report, which will be an aggregate of all FGDs, telephone interviews, site-visits and  the  stakeholders’ forum resolution, would be the final report for this evaluation project.

Opening Comments: Facilitating the focus group discussion, Jennifer Joel, welcomed the discussants, outlining the purpose of the chat and the aim of AGDC to assess the impact of the SRD training. Lessons learnt and the effects of the skills learnt on improving employability and promotion of the entrepreneurial spirit.
SRD: The training Vs The Real World: Oluokun Halimat Sadiyat; ‘the training at SRD was great, I would recommend for every graduate. For me, the problem with the Nigerian graduate is illiteracy; the average Nigerian youth does not have a deep drive for self-improvement.  Life does not give you anything; you get what you bargain for. The SRD programme made me realize, it is the value, passion and enthusiasm you have that matters’. It has been a tremendous help. At the training, I got a renewed sense of self awareness, which helped me in getting my
Halimat, highlighted the importance of personal drive, which she believes the Samsung real Dreams seek to inspire in every of its participant. Furthermore, Adebena kemi, corroborated this fact but reiterated the need for continual retraining of young graduates, in her words; ‘ maybe you can force a horse to the stream, but not force it to drink, but AGDC would just have to find creative ways to force this knowledge into  every participant, really ( AGDC has to ) just help us’.
Efegoroma Raymond, viewed the problem of employability as two-pronged, he believes there are a high number of employable youths but the jobs are not really there. He also complained of the high incidence of favoritism and in job placements; where the individual with the most powerful referee gets the job. At SRD, he learnt the value of purpose and integrity. Picking from the session delivered by Pastor Poju Oyemade, Raymond stated, ‘I learnt something very important, you can be the one  to do the right thing, if you do not, somebody in the same circumstances with you,  could have given the same excuse but decided to meet the deadline”
Combating Youth unemployment, all discussants agreed on a singular point; the need for a new value system for Nigerian youth. The following interventions were proposed.
Employability training for First year university students- Halimat; “ this would help inculcate at the start of their studies a mindset for knowledge and entrepreneurship, which would translate to a desire for  knowledge  beyond the needs to get good grades and graduate with a  2:1”
Kemi; I believe we should start from the junior secondary school, by the time a student passes through secondary education, his study options are already streamlined, depending on the department he finished from in secondary school. Most schools have Art, Commercial and Science departments, although some private secondary schools include Technical and Social Science departments. We need to let them know that it is not just about the grades, we need to inform them in making healthy career choices. If I had taken the psychometric test I took at the SRD programme in my Junior secondary school, I would have studied a different course in the university,
Raymond proposes an active participation in the National Youths Corps Orientation Programme by AGDC,’ fine, we know they have passed through the faulty system. However, what better place to start re-orientation young graduates than the NYSC orientation Camp?
Concluding comments: A general trend in this discussion was the emphasis on values learnt. The discussants graded as important the values taught in the SRD training more than skills. One skill mentioned by all participants was interview and presentation skills, which is tied to a deep sense of self-awareness and self-esteem. A major ingredient for success identified in any workplace or vocation was drive, coupled with the willingness to learn, contribute and use of innovation.
A personal observation is a deep understanding by all participants on the divergence between having a job and a career, this understanding   have formed the basis for the jobs or vocations of all the participants. Beyond rhetoric, the Samsung Real Dreams Project of AGDC has transformed the mindset of these participants.

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