The first time I heard about the Lagos State Government ‘ReadySetWork’ initiative, I felt reluctant to go ahead with the application because of the negative mentality that is attached to all government related programs, slow, ineffective and most times a complete waste of time.
How wrong I was! The RSW initiative has proven my initial apprehension to be completely wrong. RSW is a super brilliant initiative which the Lagos State Government courtesy of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has pioneered. It is the exact opposite of everything bad most government programmes are renowned for. The 13-week initiative created for selected students drawn from different higher institutions of learning across Lagos State is designed to impart the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to fit into the workplace and become successful entrepreneurs in their chosen fields.
The initiative was set up on the premise that an overwhelming percentage of graduates are half baked and not fit materials for the workplace. While they learn the relevant academic knowledge needed to obtain their various degrees, they lack the requisite skills which will make them hired and excel in the workplace. To this end, the RSW initiative was designed to plug this gap through a carefully put together syllabus which takes into account different topics and practicals which are focused on preparing graduates for the workplace. Some of the skills taught include communication skills, pitching, goal setting, CV and cover letter writing, relationship management among others.
The structure at RSW constantly helps the participants to think positively, constantly thinking outside the box and conveying your comfort zone. It helps participants to discover themselves and identify their key areas of strength as well as weaknesses so as to become better people. Participants are trained to make the best of every opportunity they have with a ‘DIE THERE’ and the ‘never slam a door, close the door gently in life’ mentality.In addition, the participants are made to understand that their background has nothing to do with their future, rather it should be a propellant to build a brighter and better future – The Nigeria/World of Tomorrow
This initiative leaves participants beyond having a paradigm shift because eventually you have an entire life shift. The initiative causes a seismic shift in thinking and attitude, from a new dress sense to how to address people, punctuality and also builds a renewed self-confidence and self-discipline.
There is a constant push to always be a better person and to always be in tune with the developments around the world so as to be prepared to take on the weekly global challenge and the weekly assignments. The initiative is laced with confidence boosting pep talks delivered in the simplest possible way by renowned experts and industry leaders who are rare to come by and highly sought after.
I can’t help but think of the unbelievable impact that will be achieved if the remaining 35 states can adopt the RSW initiative. Achieving this will massively scale up the grooming of graduates across the different nooks and crannies of the country. Cliché like ‘we have untrained graduates’ will quickly become a thing of the past. I can boldly state that within the next 10years Nigeria will be unstoppable in every aspect as the leaders of tomorrow will be adequately equipped with all the necessary skills to take on the challenges of tomorrow – ready to build a better Nigeria and a better world.
I feel very lucky and privileged to have been a part of this program. As I graduate from the program three weeks from now, I will be leaving as a different person, empowered and ready to take on the future. Sacrificing 13 weeks to go through this program has proven to be worth it. I look forward to Saturday every week now more than ever. I’m excited about learning new things, ready to learn from another industry leader who will be giving us another inspirational Pep talk. I look forward to seeing my friends from the 6 participating schools (LASU, LASPOTECH, LASCOHET, MOCPED, AOCOED, UNILAG) and our facilitators who are always there for us. Asides nourishing our minds, RSW also never fails to nourish our body with a variety of dishes provided weekly which include The Nigerian Jollof. I also look forward to one of our favourite facilitators, Mayokun Aduwo who constantly reminds me with her actions that even though I am a woman, I am LIMITLESS.
Indeed, Ready Set Work is a complete deviation from the disappointment associated with government related programs. The success of the initiative which is already in its second year makes it a relevant model for other states to emulate across the country. I look forward to my colleagues and I having our names in the history books of Nigeria and eventually being among The men and women who built Nigeria like we say in RSW.
Mobola Akintola, a participant in the second edition of the Lagos State ‘ReadySetWork’ initiative is a Final Year student of the Department of Psychology, University of Lagos.