The incidence of illegal migration to Europe and other western parts of the world in search of greener pasture is high amongst the young populace within the ages of 18-35 in Nigeria. Majority of these people often return disappointed and without tangible economic benefits to show for their exploit. Upon return, many find it difficult to earn a living, which can lead to depression and other psychological issues as well as a withdrawal from their families and the society at large.
Nigeria tops the list of African migrants to Europe. Data released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) shows that at the end of December 2016, out of 387,739 arrivals to Europe, 173,000 were from Nigeria. The consequences on illegal migration to host countries are quite numerous and have put a strain on resources and led to an increased pressure to reduce the growing numbers.
Lagos State is almost always the first port of call for returnees. The state has a rich history of economic opportunities. However, the influx of migrants and it’s resulting population explosion poses enormous environmental and social challenges for the city especially in the area of infrastructure, housing, transportation and employment. To tackle unemployment in the state through job and income creation, the Skills Development for Youth Employment Programme – SKYE since its inception in 2018 has gone into various partnerships that provided the much-needed skills training for returnees and protentional migrants. One of such partnership is with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF).
In August 2019 SKYE and LSETF established an employability support project with the aim to support re-integration of voluntary returnees and potential migrants into Lagos State. The project is targeting a minimum of 500 voluntary returnees, with gender parity target of 50 % male and 50 % female from the European Union (including prospective migrant communities) residing in Lagos State. The project is structured to provides skills development training, mentoring & counselling, and job placement opportunities. The project will also provide start-up tools to 20% of the target beneficiaries.
Since the trainings commenced in November 2019, 158 beneficiaries have completed the trainings in construction and health & beauty sectors. Out of these number, 34 beneficiaries were placed in jobs by January 2020. The second phase of the project will commence before the end of the first quarter of the year. The SKYE-LSETF training is designed to be a 12 months course to ensure beneficiaries receive in-depth knowledge and skills that will enable them to get and sustain employment.
Another ongoing partnership of SKYE in Lagos is with the ETIWA training centre. The centre is expected to train 300 returnees within 15 months in four different trade areas: masonry, electrical installation, air conditioning installation & maintenance, Solar PV installation. Each batch of the training will encompass 60 beneficiaries. As part of the reintegration support, ETIWA will provide starter kit for all the beneficiaries, facilitate job placement for some beneficiaries and support other beneficiaries to be self-employed.
By the end of 2019, SKYE and its implementing partners in Lagos state provided short term training to 442 young Nigerians in construction and other professions. 28 of them were returnees from third partner countries. SKYE will continue to support the skills development and technical and vocational training of young people, especially returnees, to help create better employment opportunities for them in Nigeria.