By Emmanuel Afonne
No fewer than 2,000 students of the University of Abuja on Thursday participated in a financial literacy and employability training sponsored by Pensions Alliance Limited (PAL), a Pension Fund Administrator (PFA), in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training tagged “NextU Network” is part of the organisation’s way of discharging its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) aimed at positioning the Nigerian youths towards wealth creation.
Sunmisola, Mark-Okoma, Head, Brand Management and Corporate Communications of PAL Pensions, said the organisation was interested in ways to impact the society positively with focus on key areas of career, finance, entrepreneurship, new media, and entertainment.
“This is why we started the NextU project; a project that aims at guiding young people through career choices and financial literacy.
“Basically, we are telling them that PAL Pensions would provide them with the support they need to become whom they want to become. University of Abuja is the second of three schools we will be adding to the Network this year.
“Naturally, we are in the financial services but we noticed that young people always have this mindset that they need to get a job, but when they get this job they make money and don’t have anything to show for it.
“We noticed that skill is needed to make money but we also noticed that you also need skill to make that money work for you even when you are not in any employment. So we are trying to catch students early before they join the workforce.
“A lot of people think retirement whenever they hear pension; it is not like before when a student graduates from school before getting a job, a lot of them are now entrepreneurs in school.
“For this reason, we have a platform “micro ventures plan” which is available for the students to key into because when you are saving your money, you are also investing in your future,” Mark-Okoma said.
According to her, over 20, 000 undergraduates from six universities in the six geopolitical zones have benefitted from the project.
She listed the universities to include, University of Benin, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, University of Port Harcourt, University of Lagos and an unnamed university in Enugu.
“We have NextU young investors club where we teach the young ones investment and financing. This year, we are expanding the NextU platform to include “The NEXTU Academy”.
“The Academy will combine theoretical business and graduate school training with practical workshop skills to raise workforce ready graduates.
“We have artistes to also talk to them because it is not about having talent but it is about how to nurture it and make it yield result for you.
“A student might not be interested in following a career part, he might be interested in entertainment or entrepreneurship.
“So, we try to bring different people from all worth of life, and by the time you listen to all of them you know that the ingredient for success is the same.”
Award winning musician Ice Prince Zamani thrilled the students with his songs and urged them to collaborate with each other to be able to succeed in life.
Laura Ikeji-Kanu, Tomi Balogun, Mark Essien and Vincent Egbe are some of the entrepreneurs and front-line speakers that spoke at the event.