Empowering Nigerian students to explore future careers

Publication date
Emmanuel Epueme, Teach For Nigeria fellow
A large group of Nigerian students stand outside with their teacher. They are standing under a tree and holding handwritten signs with messages like "Dream big, work harder" and "Discover your career"

In Nigeria, a staggering 93% of schools lack dedicated career counselors. This statistic should raise concerns among educators and policymakers alike.

Navigating my career choices without mentorship was not easy for me; I often made decisions without sufficient information, leading to delays in my career progress. Reflecting on my journey, I realized the profound impact that guidance can have on career success and acceleration. Witnessing my classmates excel with the support of mentors further underscored the importance of early career guidance.

As a teacher with Teach For Nigeria, I committed to going beyond traditional teaching roles by offering mentorship opportunities to my students. This resolve was crystallized when a cousin of mine faced uncertainty in choosing a class stream after Junior Secondary School. Although he had an interest in science, his natural aptitude for art was quite evident to me. His parents, too, were confused and unsure of the best way to support him. Determined to assist, I accompanied him to school hoping they could be of help. Dishearteningly, the school lacked a counselor to provide direction and some assistance. However, they encouraged him to pursue science, advice he reluctantly followed.

Observing his struggle was disheartening. He hardly opened his books to study and this was not due to lack of intelligence,  but simply because he was on the wrong academic track. This experience underscored the critical importance of aligning students’ aptitudes with their educational paths, highlighting the consequences of misalignment in their academic journey.

This marks the start of my journey with Careerlab.ng. Motivated by the realization that many young Nigerian students encounter similar challenges, I embarked on a quest for a solution. During my search, I stumbled upon an online counseling course offered by an organization based in India. Intrigued, I enrolled in this international certification course on guidance and counseling.

During the course, I discovered a psychometric assessment tool, powered by artificial intelligence, that could help unveil individuals' aptitudes, interests, and personalities. The tool also offers tailored recommendations for class streams and career paths based on these insights. This type of support is crucial to excel in one’s education journey and chosen career path. Recognizing the potential of this approach and tool to guide students toward suitable career trajectories, I founded Careerlab.ng.

I made an agreement with the organization I mentioned above to utilize their Career Psychometric Assessment tool and started enlisting the support of fellow teachers and counselors to join me in this endeavor. Together we embarked on a mission to help students and professionals discover their ideal career paths.

Our approach encompasses a range of free services. We provide counseling sessions both online and offline and deliver personalized guidance tailored to the individual needs of high school and college students. Furthermore, we offer access to psychometric assessments, ensuring that each student receives comprehensive support in their journey toward fulfilling careers.

Through partnerships and the unwavering commitment of those involved,  we have successfully conducted workshops and seminars, reaching over 500 students. These sessions have provided students with invaluable opportunities for free counseling and psychometric assessments, empowering them to make informed decisions about their education and future careers.

As we look ahead, my vision for Careerlab.ng is to evolve into a comprehensive one-stop platform for all career-related needs. From career exploration and virtual internships to accessing career information and admission guidance, our goal is to provide a holistic solution that addresses every aspect of preparing for the career journey 

With the rapid advancement and adoption of AI, my ambition is to build a platform that is accessible to all students so they can navigate their education journey toward careers with confidence and clarity. This will democratize career education, ensuring that every student in Nigeria regardless of background or circumstance, has the opportunity to unlock their full potential and pursue their dreams.