Dept: ENTREPRENEUR File: Word(doc) Chapters: 1-5 Views: 2


In the past, high unemployment rate was alien to graduates in Nigeria. Where this high rate of unemployment was prevalent then was among people without basic education. The study put persons with and without primary school education as people who were largely affected by unemployment in the 21st century. Graduate unemployment rate has been rising astronomically. In order to get jobs, therefore, relevant skills must be acquired to carry out such jobs. However, relevant skills acquired lead to the creation of millions of small businesses which create employment. From the foregoing, it is discovered that the unemployment rate is high among both non – graduates and graduates. It is in view of this rising rate of unemployment that this study seeks to find out if vocational skills actually lead to self-employment.


1.1 Background to the Study

The need for employment creation in Nigeria did not arise until the mid-1980s, when the economy of Nigeria collapsed and youth and graduate unemployment became a major issue of the economy of the country, particularly the latter (Arogundade, 2011). Prior to this period, the focus was in occupying positions created by the colonial masters for the smooth running of their colonial administration as well as filling the positions that the colonial masters were vacating which was occasioned by the political independence gained by the country. In this way, both graduates and non-graduates were occupying vacancies so created (Aladekomo et al. 2008).

However, by the mid – 1980s unemployment had reared its devastating effect on the Nigerian economy. This was occasioned by various factors such as economic recession, production of jobless educational institutions’ graduates, low labour absorbing capacity by companies, mass lay off of civil servants, embargo on employment in the civil service, employability of our educational institutions’ graduates for lack of relevant skills, irrelevance of curricula offered in educational institutions, closure and relocation of some business enterprises and infrastructural deficits (Aladekomo et al. 2008). The general household survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in 2011 put the unemployment rate in Nigeria as 23.9 percent. This is a very worrisome development to all stakeholders: the society, the unemployed and the government. Particularly worrisome is the rising rate of graduate unemployment among the unemployed labour force in the country over the years. For instance, the graduate unemployment rate rose from about 1 percent in 1974 to 4 percent in 1984; and between 1992 and 1997, it rose to 32 percent. In 2008, Yoloye reported that graduate unemployment rate had risen to 71.4 percent (Egunsola et al. 2012). Equally worrisome is also the alarming rate of unemployment among non-graduates. Oye et al. (2011) put the largest proportions (31-50%) of the unemployed in the country as being secondary school graduates with 40% of them representing urban youth ranging between 20 and 24 years. Another 31% of them fall within the age range of 15 – 19 years. The resultant effect of this high rate of unemployment in Nigeria is youth restiveness of all kinds such as blowing off of crude oil pipes, kidnapping (Onwubiko, 2011) as well as these youth organizing themselves into militant groups in the form of Egbesu Boys, Oodua People’s Congress, Bakassi Boys, Almajiris, “area boys” and Boko Haram to target the very society that alienated them (Awogbenle et al. 2013). In view of the above, the Federal government adopted several strategies and policies towards entrepreneurial development in Nigeria by establishing institutions and agencies, which provide variety of support services to entrepreneurs. The implication of these policies is the emergence of entrepreneurial development programmes (EDP) in different parts of Nigeria with the aim of combating unemployment problem in the country (Aladekomo et al. 2008).

Entrepreneurial development in itself is conceived as a programme of activities to enhance the knowledge, skills, behaviour and attitudes of individuals and groups to assume the role of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial development programmes, therefore, are targeted at owner managers of small business firms as well as those identified to possess potentials for self – employment. The aim is to allow individuals and groups to acquire these skills, knowledge and attitudes to enable them take the role of entrepreneurs thereby creating jobs for themselves, since creation of employment also requires the establishment of new ventures.

Entrepreneurship is adjudged as being capable of generating employment, among other things, as it is considered to be labour intensive and therefore capable of providing employment for our teeming youths and graduates. However, in spite of the various numbers of these programmes established in different parts of the country, the rate of unemployment keeps on increasing unabated.  

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