English Students Exposed to 21st Century Job Opportunities
English students have been urged to expand their perspective and explore the possibilities available to them when seeking employment after graduation. The Chief Executive Officer, Stargate Insurance Limited, Lagos, Mrs Joycelyn Ogbuokiri, gave the advice during a presentation titled, “Job Opportunities for 21st Century Graduates of English” at the Department of Languages & General Studies’ Town & Gown interaction on Tuesday, November 3, 2015. The Linguist turned certified Insurance expert stressed that if the students have a good communication background, there is nothing they cannot do.
The Dean, Professor Charles Ogbulogo, in his welcome remarks, reminded students that whatever angle they can impact their world, the mode of expression is language. “The man of tomorrow is a man of ideas and ideas are always captured in words,” he remarked, highlighting the magnitude of English language expertise.
Mrs Ogbuokiri opened her presentation by sharing her initial experience as a linguistics student, pondering the next chapter of her career. She had initially struggled while completing her degree, with the question of what to do with a qualification in linguistics. She informed students that there are limitless job opportunities open to 21st century graduates of English. Mrs Ogbuokiri mentioned a number of career paths directly related to the study of English: various positions within print media, positions on editorial boards, teaching and writing.
She encouraged students to ponder the skills they have acquired throughout the course of their studies as an English student, reminding them of their sound oral and written communication strength. In addition, she reminded the students of their analytical and critical reasoning abilities developed throughout the course of their English programme, their ability to understand and articulate texts along with their ability to think creatively, and boldly articulate their relevance in the world.
Mrs Ogbuokiri stated that there are many different industries where skills acquired as an English student are highly sought and valued including: marketing, public relations, advertising, telecommunications, banking, manufacturing and even health. She shared how she had initially started her career as a teacher prior to accepting a position as a front desk staff member of an insurance company. She then developed interest in insurance which later led to her being chartered as an insurer in 2003. In order to widen her scope in business management, Mrs Ogbuokiri completed an MBA. She encouraged the students to be willing to add to their knowledge by undertaking additional training.
She reminded the gathering that we live in a 21st century global economy that has been transformed by the internet. “There are three types of skills in the 21st century workplace,” she informed all in attendance. She referred to the first skill as “learning skills” or “critical thinking,” which is to reason rather than act on emotion. It also encompasses an ability to collaborate and communicate with others. The second category of skills related to literacy. These include information literacy, media literacy and technology literacy. The final type of skills Mrs Ogbuokiri referred to were life skills: flexibility, initiative and social skills – an ability to accommodate people, productivity and leadership abilities. She emphasised the notion that employers want to work with people who have a variety of skills, with this in mind it is imperative for students to develop their skill sets in order to give them a competitive edge in the workplace.
Mrs Ogbuokiri shared personally, that as a young person she grew up being told that the only way she could make it in Lagos was through men. “God proved people wrong,” she stated. “Jesus is the only way to success. Don’t sleep with people to get a job or a promotion. God is the one who promotes,” she advised those in attendance.
Head of Department, Languages & General Studies, Dr Samuel Owoeye, offered his gratitude to the guest speaker, describing the interaction as highly thought-provoking and robust.
Also in attendance were members of the Department of Languages & General Studies and the Department of Mass Communications as well as two members of the Directorate of Media and Corporate Affairs.