How AUN connects graduates, students to employers …Beneficiaries share experiences
If there has been a beneficiary of the annual career fair being organised by the American University of Nigeria, AUN, Yola, for its students and graduates, that person is Lewis Okuguni.
Okuguni’s first interaction in life with companies for possible job offer was at the school’s career fair.
“That was when I was in school, I think in 2012, just to see if I could get internship offer with any of the companies but I couldn’t get any,” he told National Mirror at this year’s edition held in Lagos between Thursday March 23 and Friday 24, 2017.
But after he left the school and completed his mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, scheme, he kept attending the fair.
But in a particular year, fate smiled on him. He went as usual, round the various stands where he attended aptitude tests and he left for home with the hope that he might be lucky this time around.
And when he didn’t hear anything three months after from any of them, he resigned to fate over the exercise. But still in that state of mind, he received a telephone call from Dangote Refinery, asking him to come over to the company for further discussions.
“I was then taken through series of rigorous interviews that took us several months again before I was finally given the offer about two years ago,” Okuguni, who studied Computer Science, said.
Now, he is being grateful to AUN for providing the career fair platform for its products and students, saying many had really benefitted from the scheme.
He noted that the university always tries to produce globally competitive graduates and follows them up to ensure they make success in life.
According to him, AUN will equip you with the right knowledge and skills that will make you marketable irrespective of courses of study and yet won’t abandon you to your fate.
“I give it to the university on that gesture because I don’t know of any other university in Nigeria that does a similar thing for its graduates,” he added.
Okuguni explained that he had actually spent some years at different times at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, FUTO, and the University of Portharcourt, UNIPORT, before he came to AUN.
“I left both schools because of incessant strikes by their staff unions. But I was able to finish my studies at AUN within three and half years after admission. And that is one of the beauties of going to private universities in Nigeria,” he stressed.
Another beneficiary of the fair, Adanye Adafe-Jaja graduated with a degree in Information System in 2012.
Like Okuguni, he couldn’t get his heart desire from the first and second fair he attended.
“It was at the third fair that Pricewater Coopers Company, PWC, took interest in me and offered me employment following my excellence performance in their interviews,” he said.
Interestingly, Adafe-Jaja was one of the PWC reps at this year’s fair enlightening his school mates and students alike on what the employers are actually looking for from the prospective employees.
He told National Mirror that no company would be interested in hiring workers who could not add substantial values to its growth and development.
“And mere seeing me around as a beneficiary of the scheme and now representing my company gives many participants a sort of confidence that the fair is for real and not a jamboree,’ he said.
Sharing Adafe-Jaja’s thought is Paul Owoicho, a Software Engineering first class graduate, who is rounding up his mandatory one-year NYSC programme at Base University in Abuja.
He came all away from the nation’s capital city to attend the fair perhaps one of the companies may be interested in his service.
“It is very difficult in Nigeria nowadays to get any company deeply interacting with job seekers if not only at the career fairs like this one,” he said. “Here, you feel free to interact and ask questions that could help you prepare well for job interviews even if you can’t get one at the moment.”
He said he was optimistic that something good could still come his way from the exercise.
Okechukwu Ohamadike on his part is still a student. He is in 500 level studying Telecommunication. He came to the fair perhaps he could get a place to do his three months internship programme coming up soon.
“I have gone round and I hope something good shall come my way as regards my mission here,” he said.
But Afees Bakare, who graduated in Management Information Systems two years ago, is a bit skeptical that reasonable percentage of attendees could get job through the fair. He said he had attended the two previous editions without luck.
“I just came around this year again if I may be lucky. Although, I am doing something already on my own to make small money, I can still doing it as a part time if I get a full paid job,” he explained.
However, many companies were participated in the fair and majority of them are multinationals in different industries ranging from banking, oil and gas, telecoms, consulting, insurance, education, courier services, embassy to manufacturing.
They told National Mirror that their coming to the fair was not only to look for those to be employed but to offer career guide to participants.
They said their interactions with the alumni showed that they are promising young men and women with big visions and strong determination to succeed in their chosen fields.
The university’s Dean of Students, Dr. Byron Bullock told National Mirror at the venue that the university was very passionate about the fair, saying it is one of the several platforms for students and alumni to connect with companies, business leaders, government agencies, captains of industry, and diplomatic missions to explore internship and employment opportunities.
He noted that, though, their students were trained and encouraged to be entrepreneurs and be on their own and also employ others rather than to be job seekers, some still want to work and earn salaries first instead.
‘So we create different platforms to expose our students to what they could do with and outside their courses of study to become somebody in life. We organise on regular basis co-curriculum programmes in terms of vocational trainings, workshops and mentorship for them and we don’t abandon them to their fate after graduation. We want to see them doing well and that is what informed the career fair and the platform has been yielding positive results,” Bullock explained.
He said the university borne the cost of organising the fair without charging the companies a dime. Even some senior secondary school students were also at the fair to see possibility of getting admission into AUN.