CEM REPORT, EDUCATION | In an atmosphere characterized by motivation, admonitions and testimonies, graduating students of the Pan-Atlantic University once again had a close interaction with different companies from different industries in Nigeria at the 6th edition of the university Career Fair held on recently at the University campus.
A career fair is a recruiting event in which employers and recruiters meet with potential employees and where job seekers find more about job openings at potential employers. This kind of events are rare in Nigeria partly due to the high unemployment rate and also due to less focus on such.
The Keynote Speaker, Mr Ayeni Adekunle, Founder of BHM Group, admonished and motivated the students with his life story; how he rose from a humble background, growing up in Okokomaiko, a suburb in Lagos, an environment where it was impossible to dream. But he discovered himself early through reading and was sure of his career path pre and post university.
He emphasized that life after university rests partly on the knowledge and skills acquired and relationship built within the time spent in the institution. The other and most important is believing in yourself; “being crazy enough in your head to believe that whatever it is you want to do, that you can do it, and as you begin to go that path, begin to determine what comes next and what need to happen next.”
As the students prepare to graduate, Ayeni highlighted 3 things that hold the key to their success.
“The first, discover yourself; why am I here? What am trying to do? Where am I heading? Discovering yourself is very important because it affects every other thing.
“The second, chase all opportunities you can chase and make all the money you can make. I didn’t care about money, it didn’t matter to me, I was shy about money, I was more interested in doing the creative things. But eventually, the world punishes you if you don’t have money. So, any job that can pay you N100, do it for N10.
“The third, be passionate about Nigeria. The first and second assist for the third. After one of the interviews I granted, the interviewer asked me to pose a question to the next guest and I said, how do you solve Nigerian problems. Nigeria, 200 million people, fantastic weather, smart and most hardworking people in the world, how did we get to where we are?
“Whether you remain in the country or you move out of Nigeria, have it at the back of your mind and continue to think how to contribute to solving Nigerian problems”, Ayeni admonished the students.
The 2023 career fair organized for the graduating students of PAU which was sponsored by Dangote Cement, had heavy participation by companies such as Fidelity Bank, GB Foods, Sterling Bank, Kuda MFB and Hire Me. Others are Pro Share, Stambic IBTC, Wema Bank, Kiakia, GT Bank, Fast and Credit Finance, Guiness Nigeria and few others.
It must be said that organizing events like career fair by an institution which allow product from the institution to meet with prospective employer is considered as an expression of confidence in their product. Then, PAU’s confidence in its product rests on the all-inclusive curriculum operated by the institution.
The internship and entrepreneurial program of PAU right from the first year, serves well to prepare the students adequately, having learned from the industry alongside learning from the classroom. This process builds confidence in the students while it serves as feedback which keeps the institution abreast with industry needs.
This is the submission by Mrs Inkiru Ukachukwu while talking with Continental Economy Magazine. She is the Director of Alumni, Career and Internship Office of PAU.
She said; “The career fair aligns with the definition of the university which is to groom competence and committed professionals who would deliver professional initiative in any environment they find themselves.
“We can’t really say we have professionals if they have not been to the work place. It also position us as a university because interaction with the industries also helps us in our curriculum to ensure that whatever we teach in the classroom aligns with what the industry need so that the products we have, which are the graduates, also fit into what the industry need.
“This is what has informed this career fair to ensure that we meet the talent need of the country. In the long run, we will increase the employment rate of the country as we make youth more employable.
“One of the things we take our students through is internship. Every student of the Pan-Atlantic University goes on the internship program. We give them opportunity to work, right from the 100 level. Imagin a student that has worked for three years while in the school and is graduating; that student will be very ready for the employer.
“Secondly, our entrepreneurship program also gives the students entrepreneurial mindset, not only what we teach them but also to know that they can actually start their businesses. So anywhere they find themselves, they take it as a business and profitably work with the company.”
Indeed, confidence was beaming from the graduating students that spoke to media. They were most grateful to PAU while attesting to the all-round training they received from the university.
Chukwudi Okafor, a graduating student, said; “I feel blessed to be here (PAU). PAU is it, everything you need; your spiritual life, your social life, your academic life and sports life. The school gives you a balanced training.”
According Jumoke, who represented Wema Bank and who is in charge of talent management for the Bank, the graduating students are result driven which is one of Wema Bank’s expectations from prospective employee.