The Federal Government says 41,161 graduates have benefited from its Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS), a youth empowerment programme of the Ministry of Finance, since its inception in 2012.
The Project Director, Mr Dennis Chukwu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja at the end of a training programme for interns that just completed their 12 months internship.
Chukwu, represented by Mr Aremu Najeem, the Assistant Director, Monitoring and Evaluation, said many of the beneficiaries had secured jobs or credit facilities through the scheme.
“As government, we can boldly say that the purpose of setting up the GIS, which is for the unemployed graduates to acquire employable skills, is being achieved.
Many have secured credit facilities and grants (including YouWiN! Grant) to expand businesses they set up using GIS stipends, and many have set up cooperative associations, some of which have transformed into SMEs,’’ he said.
Chukwu said that the programme, with capacity for skills development, had helped many interns to develop special programmes for the non-oil sector.
According to him, it presents an opportunity for graduate interns to gain employment in organisations where they work, some other similar organisations or be self-employed.
He said that the Federal Government would continue to improve the capacity of the scheme to absorb more applicants as long as thousands of graduates still remained unemployed.
“My hope is that the GIS will be yet another example that Nigeria will sell to the world as a way out of graduates unemployment.
“It is also my hope that some years down the line, the GIS interns will galvanise different sectors, especially the non-oil sectors, which are the new focus of the Nigerian economy.”
The scheme went into special partnerships with the governments and non-governmental organisations to train graduates in non-oil export trade, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), agriculture, community health, construction and financial inclusion.
One of the interns, Mrs Temitope Adebayo, said that she learnt a lot on capacity building and the importance of ethics and values in children.
Adebayo said, “Though, it is one year programme, it will help in reducing the unemployment rate in Nigeria.”
In his comments, Mr Lawal Aliyu, a graduate of Philosophy and Religion, said that he worked with a security company and might develop a career in that field.
“I have learnt a lot working with a security company; it has made an impact in my life because we learnt anger management, how to fix CCTV cameras, how to control crowd and address people.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the scheme is mainly for graduates between 18 and 40 years that have completed their National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme or had exemption.
The GIS is a social safety net component of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) being implemented by the Federal Ministry of Finance with a mandate to provide short-term employment for graduates.