In order to further sharpen the skills of unemployed Nigerian graduates and make them relevant in a competitive labour market, the subsidy reinvestment and empowerment programme (SURE-P) through its graduate internship scheme (GIS), has enlisted over five thousands graduates across the country for retaining and facilitating of employment.
The scheme, which is aimed at reducing unemployment rate among youths, facilitates the process of maximum deployment of the country human resource towards socio-economic development is targeting 50,000 graduates across the nation.
According to the design of the scheme, enlisted graduates are attached to employment of labour for a one year period during which they are paid stipends to garner on the job experiences, receive trainings on other vocational and entrepreneurial engagements and get financial and other support assistances at the end of the programme to enable them stand on their own.
Currently, the scheme, which also aims at stimulating the private sector into assisting the unemployed into unleashing their creative ability on productive ventures, has enlisted five thousand, five hundred and eighty nine graduates across the nation.
Project Director of GIS, Peter Papka, while speaking at the commencement of the three day orientation training for 391 graduate interns drawn from the 18 local councils of Ondo State last week said the aim of the scheme is to assist Nigerian youths have easy access to paid and self-employment opportunities to ease the social and economic burden of unemployment on the country.
The project director who was represented at the event organised by Techgrade Consulting, an Abuja-based management consultancy firm, by Kefas Hosea, the Operations Officer of GIS, and told Ondo participants who were divided into groups of fifty for easy facilitation in Akure that the idea behind the scheme is to rejuvenate the private sector of the economy to absorb people from the employment market.
According to him, “this administration recognizes the private sector as the major employer of labour but the sector requires certain minimum skills from graduates in order to employ them.
GIS provides interns with the opportunity to acquire these skills in order to improve their employability. “In fact, this is the first time in the history of our country that a graduate internship scheme has been placed on the priority agenda of the federal government to help address the challenges of graduate unemployment.”
He however put the blame of high rate of unemployment of graduates on the country’s “educational curricula in higher institutions as currently designed which does not provide for the development of the need for work place skills which accounts substantially for why a large number of graduates do not get employed.
“The thrust of the GIS therefore, is to partly address this problem this problem by bridging the gap between school and labour market and provide the graduates with something to do and somewhere to go, while they continue their job search. In the long run however, it would be absolutely necessary to review higher educational curricula by introducing life and entrepreneurial skills so as to make graduates relevant to labour market.”
The GIS project Director disclosed that the scheme also aimed at “fast-tracking man power development which is a key focus of the transformation agenda of this administration and a priority for our National vision 2020 which objective is to put Nigeria on the list of the top twenty global economies in six years’ time.
Source: The Guardian of May 6, 2014. Pg. 39