By Kaka Babatunde
The organiser of the Teenage Career Summer program, Olaonipekun Kazeem has disclosed that the organisation has touched the lives of over 100, 000 teenagers within the space of five years
EKO HOT BLOG reports that the convener of the Teenage Career Summer Program and FOCAD Global Concepts, Mr Olaonipekun Kazeem, has disclosed that his organisation has in the last five years touched the lives of over a hundred thousand teenagers.
Olaonipekun disclosed this in an interview with EKO HOT BLOG on the final day of a teenage career program held at the Lagos Theatre, Epe, between 25th-29th August 2022.
According to him, most teenagers who have artisans as parents or guardians were reached to let them know that they must be a solid pillar behind their wards’ careers.
He noted that he was motivated to organise the program based on his personal experience as a child, teenager and adult.
Sharing his struggles as a teenager whose desire was to study Mechanical Engineering, he said that his exposure and mentorship were inadequate then, stressing that his parents weren’t to blame for not giving him adequate guidance.
“During this time of my life as well, I showed so much strength in communication by taking part in literary and debating competitions from my primary to secondary school, but unfortunately never got my parents, siblings, community or the school to consider it a skill set that could be nurtured.
“I say this not to say they were wicked, but they were limited in knowledge of the role they could have played in guiding me through with such a skill set,” he said.
Olaonipekun disclosed that he struggled to gain admission into higher institutions and thereby lost the opportunity to study Engineering or a befitting communications course, adding that he ended up studying plant physiology and crop production.
“Going through these experiences, I have decided to set out to help every teenager, especially teenagers in public secondary schools to understand themselves early in life by providing an opportunity to gain exposure, mentorship and internship opportunities from young leading industry professionals and brands who will provide the knowledge across different industries and also open their doors for internship for these teenagers.
“This will help them reevaluate their desired career choices if it’s a career journey they need to keep pursuing or consider a change,” he said.
He noted that most teenagers don’t have the opportunity to experience what is expected of them within the confines of their career interests before they graduate from higher institutions.
“Unfortunately, they finish their first degree towards their mid-20s, a time where there’s mostly a social and economic demand on them for survival. At this point, it becomes difficult to find discover themselves thereby tweaking their resumes to suit any available vacancies,” he said.
He pointed out that the socio-economic survival phenomenon was responsible for the alarming rate of unemployable graduates, spiralling into a surge in unemployment.
“This is the main reason for putting this program together; it is to ensure that teenagers can interact with these professionals and brands to make more informed career decisions after gaining exposure, mentorship and an opportunity to intern in their respective areas of career interests and area of strengths,” he said.
Speaking on the challenges encountered in the course of organising the program, Mr Olaonipekun stated that the required resources to reach as many teenagers as possible were herculean, adding that how to get as many corporate organisations to adopt schools that will participate and benefit from the program was a hard nut to crack.
He, therefore, noted that he is hopeful that the program is capable of equipping the teenagers with the information, experience and path required to compete with their peers globally.
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