There is a shift from previous generations, as youth all over the world now desire more from life than mundane careers and unfulfilling work environments and culture. However, the odds are stacked against the average young person in Nigeria. Grappling with issues of unemployment and a significant knowledge gap, the Nigerian youth, in any case, has a tumultuous hill to surmount.
In the midst of it all and like a beacon of hope, SBI Media Group held its inaugural workshop, offering invaluable industry knowledge, practical tips, and cash grants, all of which added to the thrill and delight of the participants of the first ever SBI Media Workshop, hosted in Lagos, Nigeria on November 14 and 15, 2020.
The inaugural SBI Media Workshop, which was oversubscribed by over 900 per cent, saw 70 young Nigerians gather for over two days of intense learning, practical sessions, networking, and awarding grants of up to N200,000 each to seven deserving winners with the most viable ideas from pitches and presentations organized as part of the workshop. Another lucky winner, Janet Isesele, won an open return ticket, courtesy of Turkish Airlines.
With a mission to discover, develop and deploy young media professionals and entrepreneurs into the media sector, the SBI Media Workshop has never been more critical for the Nigerian youth. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), since the pandemic started more than one in six young people have now stopped working due to the pandemic. Education and training for youth have also paused or terminated, with no clear sign of recovery post-COVID-19.
This lack of education and training is affecting young people around the world in three ways: (1) disruption to education and training, which could reduce potential employment opportunities and earnings in the future; (2) the current wave of job losses and the collapse of businesses and start-ups are reducing earnings and employment (and threatening rights at work); and (3) the emergence of greater obstacles to finding work, (re-)entering the labour market and trying to transition to better jobs.
Certainly, these issues have persisted prior to the pandemic. The ILO reports that young people (aged 15 to 24), even in recent better times, have been more likely to be unemployed or in worse quality jobs than adults (aged 25 and above). The global youth unemployment rate in 2019 (13.6 per cent) was well above the pre-global financial crisis rate in 2007 (12.3 per cent). However, with the crisis on-going the issue is hitting young people faster and harder and urgent action, like the SBI Media Workshop, is necessary to prevent the risk of further deterioration.
Surely, the grant money and other prizes are enough to excite any group of young people, but the real gift for these participants was the industry knowledge received, for free, from leading practitioners and experts across the vast field of the creative media industry.
As Rotimi Bankole, founder of the SBI Group, emphasized during his opening remarks, despite all that is stacked against the Nigerian youth, they represent the future of any industry, and the hope is that “by triggering ideation and monetization in the creative, media and digital space, they would become catalysts for the economic empowerment of more than two million young Nigerians in the next five years.”
It is worth noting that the creative industry everywhere in the world is developed by the creative class and products of the creative industry are then used by members of the class. The SBI Media Workshop understands this very well and thus pays attention to the fact that the young generation of today grows in an environment of rapid technical and technological advancement necessitating a continuous access to the Internet.
This is why the SBI Media Workshop focuses on curating a deep learning experience delivered by an impressive roster of professionals, because industry knowledge is perhaps the most important to build the right skills and capacity, as well assensitize young people on the tremendous impact and potential of the creative industry.
Some of the top media industry professionals who appeared as facilitators at the SBI Media Workshop included: Bola Popoola, founder and creative director at Chow Media; Oladapo Adefolaju, head, Commercial and General Procurement and Contract Management at 9Mobile; and Tele Aina, CEO of Digital Republic.
Others were Kayode Adegbite, MD/CEO, Mediacrush Outdoor Advertising Ltd; Fisayo Fosudo, Nigeria’s top tech Youtuber; Oke Umorhohwo, marketing manager, Itel Mobile; Chidi Okereke, digital entrepreneur and top social media influencer; Barrister Tolulope Aderemi, partner at Perchstone & Graeys LP; Samuel Odusami, group head, Strategy & Data, SBI Media; Olakanmi Amoo-Onidundun, managing consultant, OMP Consult Limited; MC Lively, top influencer and lawyer-turned-comedian; and Tomi Kolawole, a Marketing & Communication Expert.
“Increasing youth education and industry knowledge in the field of creative media and the use of creative tools, will certainly create a future creative class. It is important to draw today’s youth attention to the immense opportunities provided by mobile and internet penetration,” said Bankole.
The obvious success of the first edition of the SBI Media Workshop is evidence that technology and creative activity can be used as a means for involving young people in a productive effort. Otherwise, those young people face a risk of unemployment or stagnation in the future. It is important to bring attention of young people to opportunities created by the Internet and mobile phone penetration, especially in terms of the access to culture. Sensitizing and educating young people in this area contributes to creating a knowledgeable creative class.