By Adewale Sanyaolu
The Federal Government, under its Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) implemented by the Ministry of Finance, is to spend about N2 billion on 50,000 unemployed graduates.
Project Director of GIS, Mr. Dennis Chukwu, at a Career Development and Entrepreneurship Skills for Interns held in Lagos, yesterday, said so far, 41,161 graduates have benefitted from the scheme, with 68 percent male, 31 percent female and one percent vulnerable being privileged to have gone through the programme.
GIS commenced in October 2012 as a social safety net component of Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P). It is implemented by the Federal Ministry of Finance with a mandate to provide short term employment for graduates.
“The scheme aims to achieve this by creating a 12-month opportunity for them to be attached to firms /organisations, where they can work for a year and enjoy a monthly stipend of N30,000. Such interns can use the opportunity to gain working experience and enhance their employability.
He explained further that the Career Development and Entrepreneurship Skills training has been designed to help interns answer the question of ‘what next’, adding that, it is expected that from the training, those who are yet to begin plans for the future would do so without further delay. “At the end of the training, you would be expected to develop an action plan that would guide the next few years of your life. It is, however, pertinent to let you know that many graduates are well prepared for this experience; this is because there are many that have proved themselves worthy and have already been employed, while others have established their own businesses and have employed other graduates.
“We believe that the skills and experience you have acquired through GIS have placed you in a position to contribute meaningfully to national development,” he maintained.
Mr. Mike Enahoro, the program facilitator, explained that the GIS programme seeks to bridge the gap for post National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) graduates.
He disclosed that the focus of the programme is to develop the interns in various fields, especially the non-oil sectors, in a deliberate attempt to make them employers of labour, rather than job seekers.
On his part, Head of Information Communication Technology (ICT) GIS, Mr. Lassa Samaila, said the alarming rate of complaints from employers of labour that Nigerian graduates were unemployable as a result of the missing link in cognitive skills remained a source of worry to the Federal Government, hence, the GIS intervention.
Samaila, noted that the challenge of unemployment remained a global issue that governments world over are working to address in order to constantly reduce the number.