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Rethinking Skill Development: Bridging the Gap Between Traditional Trades and Academic Expertise for a Holistic Approach
May 07, 2023     |     admin
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A prevalent misconception among many Nigerian youths is that the term 'skills' refers exclusively to traditional artisanal work, such as tailoring, carpentry, or bricklaying. In reality, skill development encompasses a broad range of expertise, including those acquired through university degrees. This blog aims to enlighten young people on the importance of recognizing and embracing diverse skills, emphasizing that mastery in any field can contribute to personal success and growth. We will delve into the true definition of skills, the role of university degrees in skill development, the importance of appreciating the value of skills, and the benefits of cultivating diverse skillsets.

Understanding the Concept of Skills

Skills are not confined to manual labor or artisanal tasks; they include any form of knowledge or expertise obtained through practice, education, or experience. A skill can be anything that enables an individual to perform a task effectively, irrespective of its relation to their academic discipline or a conventional trade. Skills can be divided into two main categories: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are technical abilities or knowledge that can be taught, such as programming, accounting, or foreign languages. Soft skills, on the other hand, are interpersonal and self-management abilities, such as communication, leadership, and problem-solving.

The Role of University Degrees in Skill Development

Many Nigerian youths often disregard the skills they acquire during their university education. For instance, a graduate of statistics who becomes proficient in data analysis has gained a valuable skill in data analytics. Similarly, a chemistry student who specializes in instrument diagnosis and calibration has developed skills in analytical instrumentation and diagnostics. These skills, acquired through formal education, possess equal value in the job market and personal development. Furthermore, university degrees offer opportunities to develop essential soft skills, such as critical thinking, teamwork, and time management, which are highly sought after by employers across industries.

Appreciating the Value of Skills

Recognizing that skills can be developed in various disciplines helps young people appreciate their own capabilities and potential. By acknowledging the value of skills obtained through formal education, they can position themselves more effectively in the competitive job market and nurture personal growth. This shift in mindset can also encourage a lifelong learning attitude, as individuals recognize the importance of continuous skill development in an ever-evolving world.

Cultivating Diverse Skillsets

Nigerian youths should be encouraged to explore different areas of interest and hone skills in multiple domains. Doing so will not only help them become well-rounded individuals but also enhance their chances of success in the ever-changing job market. Embracing diverse skillsets enables individuals to adapt, innovate, and excel in their chosen fields. Moreover, possessing a wide range of skills can lead to increased employability, as individuals become more versatile and capable of tackling various tasks and challenges.


It is vital for Nigerian youths to acknowledge that skill development transcends traditional trades and encompasses expertise obtained through university degrees. By embracing a variety of skillsets and recognizing the value of their education, they can pave the way for success and contribute to the growth and development of their communities. Together, let's dispel the myth surrounding skill acquisition and empower our youths for a brighter future. By fostering a culture of continuous learning and skill development, we can create a thriving and innovative society that benefits all. At Youth Mentors Hub Initiative, we recently luanched our global impact mentorship programme. Click here to sign up today.

Paul O. Ojo

Founding President

Youth Mentors Hub Initiative