Iniobong Ekponta, Uyo
Determined to cut the prevailing rate of youth unemployment in the country, the Federal Government has trained, and empowered, no fewer than 41,161 graduates under the Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) bankrolled by the Federal Ministry of Finance.
Addressing 50 beneficiaries from Akwa Ibom State Tuesday in Uyo, the State capital, the Project Director, Mr. Dennis Chukwu, noted that “the scheme has demonstrated high prospect for job creation and social projection of youths”.
Chukwu, who was represented by Dr. Essien Akparawa, gave the breakdown of the beneficiaries to include 68 percent males, 31 percent females and one percent for the physically challenged.
According to him, the graduates are imbued with skills in various trades including Information and Communication Technology (ICT), community health, agriculture, construction, education, financial and empowerment to start businesses after one year internship.
He explained that the intervention became necessary to re-orientate and redirect the minds of the youths towards independent ventures that would make them employers of labour, instead of job seekers.
Advising the beneficiaries, Chukwu said: “The career development and entrepreneurship skills training have been designed to help you answer the question of ‘what next’.
“It is expected that from this training, those of you who are yet to begin plans for your future will do so without further delay”.
Also, Mr. Dauda Madaki, who stood in for the project consultant, enjoined participants to take more than a passing interest in the scheme to fully develop their potentials.
If effectively maximized, Madaki assured that the programme has the tendency of molding the youths to become functional entrepreneurs that would help grow the economy and create jobs for others.
He recalled with N5,000 earmarked as stipends at the inception of the scheme in 2012, the Federal Government has raised the bar to N30,000, adding such cash and training could go a long way towards improving the quality of lives of the youths.
It could be recalled that out of all the SURE-P programmes of the former President Goodluck Jonathan era, GIS remained the only scheme retained by President Muhammadu Buhari, as a stop gap programme to curtail youths’ unemployment in Nigeria.