BrightBright Jaja, the CEO and founder of ICreate Africa, has been honored for his contributions to lowering Nigeria’s high youth unemployment rate.
Bright built a platform through his annual skills competition that discovers creative adolescents and equips them with the necessary entrepreneurial skills, mentorship, and funding to launch their firms.
Jaja, who was recently highlighted on CNN for his efforts to reduce unemployment, believes that a surge in technical and vocational skills among Nigeria’s youth workers could quietly address the country’s perpetual unemployment crisis.
“The goal is to get more young people in Africa to embrace technical and vocational skills without being afraid of the stereotype” he told CNN.
Jaja has successfully trained over 20,000 young people in vocational and technical skills since founding iCreate Africa in South Africa in 2017. He hopes to train over five million young people across Africa as a result of his expansion into Nigeria.
“We identify experts and match them with aspirants who basically enroll in an apprenticeship for about 3 months to one year. Some of the trades we focus on are carpentry, graphic design, web design, and basically everything technical and vocational.”
Jaja’s entry into Nigeria is being celebrated by the iCreate Skills Fest, an annual vocational and technical skills event aimed at inspiring and empowering young people in the technology sector.
“I started a competition annually called iCreate Skills Fest to help change perception among youths on vocational and technical skills. We bring technicians and craftsmen together to showcase their skills in a contest, all to encourage youths to embrace skills trade as a profitable career choice.”
“After the competition we have a skills awards night where we celebrate the winners, give them cash prizes and empower them with high value tools and equipment to support their business. We also link them to jobs.”
“After the iCreate Fest, we have designed a digital platform called Skillers, a digital marketplace for hiring artisans and sourcing building materials. Skiller.ng formalizes the process of acquiring and hiring artisans in the construction industry,” he added.
He stated that his organization intends to construct a skills park comprised of several facilities that will encourage technical and vocational skills from beginning to end.
“We want young people to walk into that park without a skill and walk out with a product they created. And we want to achieve that across Nigeria.”