The Prince’s Trust International, a non-profit organisation established by King Charles III of England, has been launched in Nigeria to address the urgent issue of youth unemployment on a global scale.
The launch, which took place at a reception in Lagos on Wednesday, was attended by high-profile functionaries, including the Deputy British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ben Llewellyn-Jones.
Speaking at the launch, Llewellyn-Jones said the PTI’s launch in Nigeria would bridge the existing skills gap, giving more young people would have access to quality training that would make them more employable.
He said, “This is the launch of the Prince’s Trust International initiative in Nigeria to help train young people and get them ready for work to bridge the gap that we have with respect to youth unemployment and youth underemployment here in Nigeria.
“So, it is a really positive initiative. His Royal Highness is the President of the Prince’s Trust. The initiative is trying to reach more countries, Nigeria being the latest. The PTI is a charity. It is in line with the UK government’s ambition in Nigeria to help young people get jobs, get the proper training and the proper skills.
“It is about training. It depends on the kinds of roles young people want to take up. It is about providing them with modern workplace skills, modern workplace etiquette and the ways in which they can approach things, helping them with some of the softer skills and some of the harder skills as well.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Prince’s Trust International, Will Straw, said the initiative was billed to commence in the aftermath of King Charles’ visit to Nigeria in 2018 but was delayed due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to him, in the last 18 months, the trust has been helping young people gain the skills they need for the world of work.
Straw said, “Prince’s Trust is nearly half a century old. It was founded by King Charles when he was the Prince of Wales in the UK in 1976. It has grown to be the largest charity in the UK, supporting a million people. In 2015, the King founded Prince’s Trust International with a mission to work with local partners around the world to tackle the youth unemployment crisis.
“In 2018, he visited Nigeria, and as we heard this evening, he asked government officials, he asked business leaders whether his trust could support employment efforts here in Nigeria and in Ghana. The answer was yes. The expertise that we have could help with local efforts. So, we began with the support of our Africa advisory board, which includes great business figures in Nigeria like Atedo Peterside and Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede to explore how we can set this programme up.”
On her part, PTI’s trustee and former Vice President of the World Bank, Arunma Oteh, said that 60 per cent of Nigeria’s population is youth; hence, any investment in young people was worthwhile and sustainable for development.
Oteh, who was also a former Director-General of Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission, expressed excitement at the possibility the programme portends for young Nigerians, employers and the country.
According to her, Nigerian youths are hardworking, creative, and resilient.
She added that the launch of the PTI in Nigeria would catalyse more changes and development in the country.
Also, the Director-General of Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, Mr Oyerinde Adewale-Smatt, said unemployment was a great challenge in the country and was projected to grow to 40 per cent in 2023.