As the Covid-19 health crisis continues to impact economic activities across industries, Friends of Nigeria (FON) in partnership with Aldelia, a renowned European recruitment agency has organized a job fair webinar for young Nigerians in Europe.

The virtual event tagged “Hiring African Talents” and held on Thursday, November 26, in partnership with Aldelia Global Manpower, explored job opportunities available to Nigerian professionals across Europe. This event is timely as the Covid-19 health crisis and recent lockdown restrictions in Europe are affecting companies’ usual recruitment activities and hampering a large pool of young people, especially new graduates from finding a job.

This year alone has seen most companies downsize, reduce their staff strength, and cut the budget on employing new hands in an unprecedented way. As new graduates in their large numbers are trying to gain access to the job market, companies, on the other hand, are reacting to the Covid-19 health crisis by halting or delaying recruitment.

A report published by the European Data Portal stated that “unemployment across the European Union is expected to rise to 9% by the end of 2020.” Similarly, the International Labour Organization (ILO) in their report published in March 2020, stated that unemployment levels could rise between 5.3 million and 24.7 million, with migrants being more vulnerable to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

According to Segun Opaleye, a recent Nigerian graduate in France, who has been on the lookout for a job opportunity in Europe, explained that looking for a job during this period seems almost impossible. “I have lost count of the CVs I have sent, Opaleye said”. “There are fewer opportunities out there today, and most of these opportunities are extremely selective; they are mostly for senior management roles.”

However, as job opportunities become scarce, FON, as part of its objectives, is exploring ways and making efforts to help Nigerian professionals and recent graduates in Europe get through these trying times. The organization which has been at the forefront of promoting Nigerian skills and talents in Europe is committed to ensuring that Nigerian professionals and recent graduates have a seat at the table of opportunities.

Speaking about the job fair webinar, FON’s Communications Manager and HR expert, Nkechi Nwosu said that it was important that the organization became involved in the challenges that its members faced as a result of the pandemic in finding career opportunities. “We are able to leverage our network of partners in both the private and public sector to provide valuable and timely information to our members, information that will guide their job search and ensure that they are searching in the right places”.

Maxine PITTET – Project & Business Development Manager, West Africa for Aldelia shared job opportunities available to Nigerians in Europe and in Nigeria on the company’s job listing platform – areebajobs. Equally giving a general overview of the International Organization of Migration (IOM) MATCH program to which Aldelia is the HR Advisory partner in Nigeria and Senegal, she explained that the Program aims to facilitate the ‘matching’ of highly skilled African talents – from Nigeria and Senegal – with Dutch and other EU companies based on specific needs of the private sector.

The program aims to achieve this by leveraging on the burgeoning market of African talents, especially in the technology industry to combat existing labour shortages across Europe through smart and organized labour migration from these two West African countries. Today, Nigeria is dubbed Africa’s largest ICT market and second-highest internet usage in Africa with a high concentration of innovation and entrepreneurship activities. Senegal also boasts of one of the fastest-growing technology and innovation ecosystems and economies in Africa with a young population full of potentials.

“These African countries have some of the most developed tech startup ecosystems on the continent,” explains MEST Africa– a Pan-African seed fund, tech incubator and hub — in an article.

The program is expected to run until January 2023 and has enlisted a panel of local employment agencies to help with the selection and screening of qualified candidates.

FON is a non-profit organization actively building the largest network of Nigerian professionals in France and across Europe, and facilitating their access to entrepreneurship and career opportunities, and to enable them to contribute their quota towards the economic development of Nigeria.

As part of its activities, the organization organizes a yearly event, Spotlight Nigeria, which is targeted at businesses and professionals in Europe who are seeking a platform to access business and investment opportunities in Nigeria, and also meet industry stakeholders from Nigeria.

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Oluwatobi Opusunju

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