IS VOCATIONAL APPRENTICESHIP A PATH TO FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE? 

​By ADEWUSI YUSUF OLOLADE 

Volumes of books and thousands of speeches have been crafted concerning the topic: all with the same purpose of sensitizing individuals on the importance and the advantages of vocational apprenticeship.

In a developing economy like ours, with the rate at which population is growing and with all our economic challenges, we would be delusional to think we can depend on the government and corporate firms to provide each and everyone of us with meaningful employment  and a prosperous career.
Thus the importance of vocational apprenticeship cannot be overemphasized.
Small and medium enterprises (SME’s) play a major role in the development of developing economies, they contribute majorly to the country’s GDP, and reduce unemployment, in the case of Nigeria about half of our GDP comes from SME’s, this means the presence of vibrant economic activities among individuals does not only help the individual become financially independent but it also helps in developing the economy. 
The major challenge however in Nigeria is not just awareness on the importance of acquiring these vocational skills as we may think ,I believe we moved past that phase already, as a matter of fact most graduate these days in Nigeria all have one vocational skill or another ranging from fashion designing to make up artistry and several others.
 The major challenge is turning these skills into sustainable businesses, most people lack basic business knowledge and most times we think we have the knowledge but in the real sense we don’t, lack of a well thought out business plan and a well detailed process of execution is what makes most small  businesses fail.  
Understanding basic  business concepts such as target market, marketing and accounting amongst others are as important as the vocational skills we acquire because the goal isn’t just to acquire vocational skills and get into business but to stay and be profitable in that business thereby allowing for future  growth .
In conclusion Nigeria is a huge market, we should look at our growing population as a blessing rather than a curse, if an individual aims to have a client list of 5,000 people, that is still less than 0.003% of the population.
If we’re ever going to be truly financially independent, we need to without a doubt inspire our youth to acquire vocational skills as well as basic business skills.
Adewusi Yusuf Ololade is a graduate of Economics from the international university of Africa, Khartoum, Sudan. 

Currently studying for ACCA (Association of Certified Chattered Accountants). He is  an Accountant at Ladmoh Enterprises a representative of Banan-IT, Dubai, a firm that provides IT solutions to SME’s .

Published by Ogunbowale Olugbenga

Ogunbowale Olugbenga is a multiple award winning social entrepreneur & digital skills expert. An alumnus of the Leadership in Business Institute of Kellogg School of Management (USA), He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria). Inspired by the plight of millions of unemployed youths, Olugbenga founded Epower.ng, a digital agency passionately growing businesses & accelerating the application of digital skills for economic prosperity across Africa. To help institutions prevent scandals & promote performance, Gbenga founded Polivoice.Work, an anonymous employee feedback tool that captures & analyses feedback anonymously in real time to detect, predict & improve work place conditions. A Mandela Washington Fellow, Tony Elumelu Fellow, Royal Common wealth society fellow, YALI star of business & YALI network influencer, Olugbenga is the founder of Africa’s biggest orphanage outreach, The Orphan Empowerment Society, with a 5,000 strong volunteer force and a presence in 19 African countries empowering thousands of orphans with free vocational skills, medical care, & food. He is also the co-founder of the communication & leadership organization, Pacesetters Leadership Club.

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