As part of activities geared toward successfully integrating students of the University into the job market after graduation, the University’s Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies (CENTS), has put together a workshop for final year students of the University titled, “2020 Branding FUNAAB Graduates for Employability and Marketability”. Speaking on the rationale for the workshop, the Director, CENTS, Prof. Babatunde Adewumi, stated that the goal of integrating entrepreneurship studies into university education was to empower graduates, irrespective of their areas of specialisation, with skills that would enable them engage in income yielding ventures, stressing that it was a reorientation from the take-a-job mentality to a make-a-job mentality.
The University don said that, the Centre is determined to encourage entrepreneurship lectures and culture in the University by developing FUNAAB product showroom for successful research outputs, patenting of marketable FUNAAB research outputs, commercialisation of FUNAAB research patents, and outputs, among others.
While educating the students on “Agribusiness: A Worthy and Wealthy Source of Sustainable Employment”, Prof. Adewumi noted that many industries cannot exist or survive without the inputs of agriculture, stressing that agriculture removes mono-economy and enhances diversified economy. He revealed that agriculture was capable of providing profitable employment for millions of jobless youth and diversifying the economy of Nigeria through Agribusiness, adding that Agribusiness was highly feasible if youths had ready access to land, agricultural inputs, and loan facilities at reduced interest rates. The Director further encouraged Nigerians to give priority to practical agriculture to be able to compete favourably in a liberalised global economy, stressing that Nigeria is naturally blessed with agricultural resources and the strength for global competitiveness in agriculture.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kolawole Salako, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Bolanle Akeredolu-Ale, disclosed that the University Management had recognised the need to ensure that graduates were marketable and employable, adding that the institution was now making conscious efforts at grooming its graduates and products for the market. According to him, when students are half-baked, it means they lack the essential and basic skills needed for them to be employed, “We are all aware that branding is a marketing technique, and we are branding FUNAAB graduates because they are our quality products”.
Prof. Salako acknowledged the contributions of past Directors towards the development of the Centre, while he congratulated the incumbent Director, Prof. Adewumi and his team for making the event a reality, stressing that “the establishment of Centre for Skills Development (CENSKID), which later led to the creation of CENTS, is an evidence of the University’s conscious effort at equipping her graduates with accountability, capability, employability, and practicability skills that will enhance them”.
In her lecture titled, “Gender, Non-governmental Organisations and Successful Entrepreneurship”, Prof. Olubunmi Ashimolowo of the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development (COLAMRUD), emphasised the importance of self-discovery, stressing that human existence has no meaning until purpose is discovered. According to her, “In discovering yourself, the basic questions you must provide answers to are: your identity, heritage, purpose, potential and destiny”. Prof. Ashimolowo urged the participants to identify the qualities that make them distinctive from their colleagues and brand themselves for a better tomorrow, stating that the impression they make is the brand they are building.
Speaking on the benefits of NGOs, she explained that they advocate for human rights and environmental protection, build youth leadership, work to end violence against women and children, and assist the poor, among others. She stressed that their mandate was to promote public interest and serve the public good rather than making a profit or advancing the interest of a narrow group of individuals. Delivering his goodwill message, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), Prof. Clement Adeofun, represented by Prof. Emmanuel Fakoya from the Department of Agricultural extension and Rural Development (COLAMRUD), described the event as timely, urging the students to be brand-able, have good personality, good oral and written communication, practice networking, and adaptability skills, as the job market was already over-saturated.
The University Registrar, Dr. ‘Bola Adekola highlighted the benefits of agriculture, which he described as an industry that is full of potentials, adding that there were so many areas that people could benefit from, as he urged the students to learn the business aspect of agriculture and use their National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) year to learn different entrepreneurial skills. The Registrar encouraged them to turn around the knowledge they had gained from FUNAAB to make the University proud. Other topics presented at the event were: “Professionalism in Cinematography and Film-making Skills: Untapped Entrepreneurial Opportunities” by Alagba ‘Tunde Kelani; “NYSC: Making the Best of One-Year Experience and Beyond”; by the Ogun State NYSC Coordinator, Dr. (Mrs.) Belinda Faniyi; “Business Registration: Benefits and Opportunities in Your Brand”; by the representative, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Barr. Olubunmi Adekunte, among others.