My quest to provide learning opportunities to the lesser privileged has made me explore uncharted avenues—one of them being volunteering at a non-profit organization called SDC Africa. I have mentored five college students at this organization dedicated to improving education standards and providing career opportunities to meritorious students from underprivileged backgrounds. It is during this time that I realized how most graduates from Nigerian Universities lack jobs because instead of doing internships during university days, they start looking for opportunities post graduation, which, at times, takes more than a year to find.
Passionate to bring a change, I decided to set up a formal internship and career search process, coached students after work or over the weekends, reviewed their resumes, and conducted mock interviews. Despite a heavy workload at office, I took out time to reach out to industry experts, associates and friends, to set up informational interviews so that my students could learn more about their chosen field.
Though, initially, it seemed a Herculean endeavor to get companies on board to hire interns, with much persuasion, I successfully managed to get ten companies to recruit from the University of Lagos. Last summer, all five of my mentees were able to crack internships and were even offered full-time jobs on completion.
Putting in those extra hours for coaching and liaising with companies to enable hires was not just challenging, but a one-of-a-kind experience. The fact that these students, with families that relied on them for financial support, landed up with great career opportunities, was extremely overwhelming for me. It gave me the impetus to further initiate a plan to increase internship participation by collaborating with major institutions across the three main geographical regions of Nigeria. Today, I feel honored that I could play my part in empowering the society.