In building a well-thought-out framework for the socio-economic transformation of the African continent over the next 50 years, the African Union (AU) has come up with Agenda 2063, in which part of the strategy to achieve this is highly dependent on the skills, talents and commitment of its young people. This, therefore, shows that for the leaders of the AU to already recognise the need for skills development among African youths, its great importance cannot be overemphasized. Skills development is the number 1 strategy in eliminating youth unemployment in Africa, hence it is firmly rooted in Agenda 2063 as stated in Aspiration 6- “An Africa whose development is people driven, relying on the potential offered by people, especially its women and youth and caring for children”

Skills development sets the foundation for entrepreneurship and employability of others. Lack of skill development makes one not only redundant but sometimes a liability to potential employers. In this era of value in which our world revels in today, no one wants to feel ineffectual or purposeless to others or even to his/herself. To combat such, it is therefore mandatory for everyone to possess a skill for which they would be found useful. Depending on your chosen career path, you can identify what kind of skills you need to further hone or even develop to remain useful in your career field. Sometimes, we find that we are good in more than two or even three areas and we want to go into all of them. This results in us becoming “jack of all trades, master of none”. Granted, we are often gifted with one or more talents. It doesn’t mean we have to learn all of them at once, without having the desired need for them so much so that we are unable to place the order of priorities in which we should develop these skills. It is definitely a good thing to multi-task or even be good in more than one skill but the important thing to note here is not to learn them all at once but using a scale of preference. If you have some free time and the opportunity presents itself, it is an awesome idea to learn or develop a new skill.

In developing these skills, it is pertinent that we follow the 70-20-10 rule:

  • 70%: This covers on-the-job activities and action learning. In other words, learning and gaining more experience in your current career field. This can include experiences like project management, job shadowing, handling new tasks, learning some other aspects of the job as relates to your career.
  • 20%: This covers learning from interactions with others. It could be volunteer services, being mentored, coaching others, or even from daily meaningful conversations we have with other people.
  • 10%: This covers learning from training such as seminars, conferences, self-taught skills, online classes, webinars etc.

In the achievement of any set goal, having the right skill set is key because your skills are your tools. Without the right skill set, you end up wasting time, possibly get frustrated with yourself and even decide to give up on that goal instead of learning the skills with which to achieve it. Encountering hurdles and obstacles are enough challenges in any goal pursuit without adding lack of the right skills set to the mix and the worst part of this kind of struggle is that it is very unconstructive and makes one stagnant.

Often times, we are quick to neglect skills development because:

  • While we are quick to admire or feel impressed by the accomplishments of others, we forget the pain they went through to get them. All we hear is the “Eureka” and not the cries that filled their rooms when they didn’t get it right. Fixating our eyes on the accolades and victories of successful people make us sometimes feel like it was easy for them to achieve and difficult for us because we are not as “intelligent” or “brainy” as they are. How wrong we are. Remember, not everything good comes easy. Each time these successful people felt the need to give up, they kept pushing on. So, just as they worked on developing themselves to achieve this goal which really impresses you, strive to develop yourself to be able to achieve great things too.
  • We could be very critical of ourselves. Seeing the feats achieved by others, we are quick to feel inferior and tell ourselves that one big lie, “we cannot achieve this”. A creative mind plus sheer determination to succeed is almost all that is needed to accomplish great things. No one was born with superpowers. The only “superpowers” we see is the right skill set which they developed and is now working out well for them.

It is skills development that makes us grow from beginner to novice, to intermediate, to advanced and to professional. Challenge yourself to develop your skillset especially as it relates to your career and watch your name climb up the ladder of success.










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