A Heriot-Watt student has been recognised for his efforts to tackle youth unemployment in Nigeria.
Eyitayo is the founder and CEO of Utiva, a business which helps university students and recent graduates to build the right skills and knowledge for the global job market.
Nigerian youth have a disproportionately high unemployment rate of 36.5% per cent, compared to 23.1% of the overall population.
As someone who struggled to find work after university himself, Eyitayo understands the importance of equipping young people with the right skillsets to transition to work.
He said: “I grew up in a community where most bright young people graduated from school without any opportunity in the job market. I experienced the same thing and I know the reality.”
Fortunately, Eyitayo met a mentor who supported him to find a job in consulting. He said: “I was excited, but I felt a deep sense of frustration because other youths around me were left without hope.
“I discovered that unemployment in Nigeria is not caused by a lack of jobs but the unemployability of the youth population.”
Closing the skill gap was Eyitayo’s motiviation for starting Utiva. Utiva takes a two-pronged approach to addressing this issue, working both with local firms and global companies to identify what they look for when hiring employees, as well as delivering training to motivated young people to develop those skills.
Now, the organisation is working with 18,000 young people from 25 universities across Nigeria.
As a Global Good Fund Fellow, Eyitayo will receive professional leadership coaching for the next year and targeted financial capital to accelerate his business.