10 vocational skills to live comfortably in Nigeria

With the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria, you should not depend solely on a 9-5 job to earn a living. You have to be resourceful and look for other means to earn money in case you can’t find a job or if you think getting a formal education is not the right path for you. This is where vocational skills come to play. There are many vocations you can choose from, and many of them will earn you enough money to live comfortably in Nigeria. 

Vocational skills are a set of practical skills to help you become proficient in a trade or occupation. A lot of people in Nigeria simply refer to it as ‘handwork’, where you learn skills relating to a particular trade. Typically, you learn a vocation by working as an apprentice directly under a professional, but in recent years online vocational training has become very popular. In the comfort of your home, you can learn important skills that can earn you a living in Nigeria. 

With vocational training, you can either earn money by working for others, becoming a freelancer or opening up your own business. You may not earn a lot of money working under others, but it will help you improve your skills. Taking up gigs and becoming a freelancer gives you independence and allows you to gain customers before finally opening up your own business. Once you finally open up your own business and become successful, your earnings will be way above the salary of a typical office worker, and you can live comfortably in the middle class or even the upper class in Nigeria. 

Top 10 vocational skills in Nigeria

The vocations that can help you become successful in Nigeria are numerous, below are the top 10:

1. Fashion Designing 

Did you know that the richest woman in Nigeria is a fashion designer? If not, look it up. Fashion designing is a glamorous career that can easily put you at a similar level with big shots and celebrities in Nigeria.

There are several ways to earn money as a fashion designer in Nigeria. You could sew and sell ready-made clothes or work as a tailor and design and sew clothes for your customers. If you are very good, you could even make it into the limelight and showcase fashion shows, make your clothing line and design clothes for models and celebrities. 

Do not confuse fashion designing with simple tailoring. As a fashion designer, you need to be able to draw well, make your own designs, have great attention to detail and be able to bring your designs to life. 

To become a fashion designer, some people learn it as a degree in school, but that is not necessary. You can start as a tailor and build up your skills from there. As long as you are creative and can come up with beautiful designs, you can pair them with your sewing skills and become a fashion designer. 

2. Arts and crafts

There is a wide range of vocations in arts and crafts, including shoemaking, painting, drawing, bead making, sewing, weaving, etc. Basically, anything you can make with your hands and simple tools is arts and crafts. Being able to make beautiful arts and crafts will set you up for success in Nigeria. 

A lot of people in Nigeria are into art and will spend tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of naira for paintings and drawings to hang on their walls. People pay a lot of money to tailors, shoemakers, bead makers, and bag makers to make beautiful clothes, shoes, beads and bags for them. 

Since this is completely practical, you must study under a professional to get the basics. From there, you can continue to build your skills with both online and offline courses and tutorials. 

3. Hair styling and beauty services

Countless people attend events every day and need professionals to make them look good. Women pay thousands of naira to have their geles tied and their hair styled for occasions. Even daily, countless people are barbing their hair, braiding their hair and trimming their brows. 

Working as a hairstylist, barber or make-up artist is a good way to earn money in Nigeria. As long as you are proficient in what you do, you will become successful in no time. To make it as a beautician in Nigeria, you have to have extensive knowledge of the different types of skin and hair, various make-up and hair products, and the skills to apply them.

The best way to learn these skills is by working as an apprentice under a professional. After your apprenticeship, you can continue to build your skills by practising and supplementing your knowledge with online and offline courses and tutorials. 

4. Event planning

Nigerians are lively people by nature and we love to party. No matter how tough the economy is, people will still invest in having a good time. From weddings and birthday parties to naming and burial ceremonies, event planners are needed to plan all these events. You can take advantage of this high demand to create a means of earning money for yourself. 

As an event planner, you will work with and manage other professionals including caterers, photographers, DJs, etc. You are the one that will put everything together and ensure that everything goes smoothly so you need to have great leadership and time management skills. You also have to be resourceful and have a great eye for detail. 

5. Photography

Being able to take beautiful pictures is an art that once you perfect it, will earn you lots of money. 

Good photographers are in high demand in Nigeria. Everyone wants to capture beautiful moments in important events and milestones of their lives. In birthday parties, graduation parties, weddings, anniversaries, naming ceremonies, burials etc, photographers are a prerequisite. 

People go to university to study photography as a degree, but that is not necessary, you can learn it as a vocation. In addition to the practical aspect, there are some theoretical aspects you need to know that you can learn from books, tutorials and courses. 

6. Catering

Nobody can do without food, so becoming a caterer is another sure way to earn money in Nigeria. Every event needs a caterer to provide food and refreshments. On special occasions like Christmas, caterers are also hired by families to provide catering services for them. As a caterer, you can also earn money by opening your restaurant. 

To make it in the catering business, you need to be a great cook. There are sub-areas you can specialize in like baking, drink making, ice cream making, yoghurt making, cooking, and so on, but if you can become proficient in all, it will greatly increase your earning potential. 

7. Electrical repairs

Practically everyone has one or two electrical appliances in their homes. Those who cannot afford washing machines or microwave ovens have at least electric fans and pressing irons in their homes.

One thing about electrical appliances is that they get broken a lot, and most people prefer to repair their faulty appliances than buy new ones, so people who know how to repair them are in high demand. 

These things aren’t hard to repair at all. You may have even tried once or twice to repair your broken appliance on your own and have been successful. With some training, you’ll become a master in no time and make significant money repairing electrical appliances for people. 

8. Carpentry

Carpentry and woodwork pay a lot in Nigeria. As long as you are proficient in the skill, there are a lot of ways you could earn money. You can work with builders to make frames for doors and roofs. You can also earn money by making and repairing furniture for people. 

Carpentry is mainly practical, so you need to work directly under a professional to learn the skill well. 

9. Tech and computer skills

Tech and computer skills are in great demand and are one of the ways of earning a good income in Nigeria. In recent years, more and more people have become interested in tech, and more businesses have incorporated it in designing, making and marketing their products. It is a fun skill to learn, and you can opt for one of several branches including computer programming, data analysis, graphic designing, and web design and development.

You can learn the skills as an apprentice in cyber cafes, but most cyber cafes will only teach you basic skills like typing and how to use basic software like Microsoft and CorelDraw. You can either look for better places to learn or go for courses online to have a more in-depth knowledge of the skill. 

The beauty of this skill is that you can work remotely and earn money. There are people in Nigeria, working for companies abroad and earning in dollars. 

10. Automobile servicing 

People proficient in this skill are called mechanics, and it is a vocational skill that thrives very well in this bad economy since everyone drives around with a faulty car. A lot of people use their cars for decades, and the only reason why these cars are not in tatters is due to the hard work of mechanics. Being able to make money with this skill requires hard work and perseverance due to the stressful nature of the job.

To become a mechanic, you will need to learn under a professional for some time to know very well the practical aspect of the skill. 


Learning vocational skills should be a must in Nigeria. With the state of the economy and high unemployment rate, everyone should learn a vocational skill as a backup in case they can’t find a job. These skills don’t require any formal education, so it is a great option if you don’t want to attain higher education.

The key to making it with vocational skills is to make sure you become a master. With these skills, you will not only earn enough money to live comfortably in Nigeria but also create employment opportunities for others as well. 

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Habibat Musa

Habibat Musa

Habibat Musa is a content writer with MakeMoney.ng. She writes predominantly on topics related to education, career and business. She is an English language major with keen interest in career growth and development.

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