NYSC and entrepreneurship development

THE National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), in its effort to develop and encourage entrepreneurship, introduced a skill acquisition training programme called Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) in the year 2011. Since the introduction of this programme to the corps members, it has recorded remarkable successes, as corps members who participated in it have become independent and stopped relying on white collar jobs alone.

SAED is a ten-day programme that takes place on the NYSC orientation camp grounds during the orientation course nationwide, with skilled teachers for various kinds of skills. Interested corps members are given the opportunity to choose a skill of their choice from the various available skills. These skills include photography, events planning, catering crafts, bead making, make up and cosmetology, hair dressing, ICT, customising of wears and many more. Corps members are encouraged to continue their training after the NYSC orientation course to enable them master their crafts and become professionals. The continuation of these trainings beyond camp, will also enable them acquire customers to better themselves financially.

The initiative is aimed at reducing the rate of unemployment among youths in Nigeria. Youths are implored to take these training seriously for their own benefit.  So far, the stock market and currency slide have been the key indicators of the unemployment crisis in the country, but a survey by Jobberman, a leading recruitment agency in the West African region, provides statistics on the population of unemployed university graduates. According to the survey taken by almost 90,000 people, 47 per cent of the country’s university graduates are unemployed in Africa’s largest economy. By some estimates, Nigeria’s tertiary institutions produce up to 500,000 graduates every year and there are also Nigerian graduates who study abroad and come home to compete for jobs.

The solutions to the problem include creating secondary skills development and acquisition programs as well as government investment in job creation schemes according to Jobberman. This is what the NYSC SAED programme has been putting into action since 2011. Corp members receive the sum of N19, 800 monthly for their upkeep key from Federal Government throughout the 12 months of the service year; it is called “allowee”. Most corps members will find it hard to survive after the end of this service year except they get themselves engaged in something lucrative before the end of the year. NYSC’s SAED aims to ensure that the monthly bank alert usually received by the corps members does not come to an end after the service year but increases through income from the skills already acquired. Their account should continue to be credited by the employers of labour.

Youths crying about the crisis of unemployment while do nothing but complaining are nothing but ambassadors of laziness! Even the Holy Book condemns idleness. Proverb 19 vs15 says “slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger”. NYSC’s SAED encourages hard work and being enterprising. The initiative condemns youths using the crisis of unemployment in the nation as an excuse for not being successful. I can vividly remember sometimes back when a relative of mine used to come to ask my father for money all the time. My father got fed up and spoke to him in a parable: “I cannot continue to give you fish but I can teach you how to catch fish.” The NYSC has set up a platform for youths to be financially successful through SAED. I implore corps members to use the opportunity given to them and make the best out of it.

It is high time youths stopped believing the government will do everything for them and start believing in themselves! You don’t need the government to be a successful and independent person. The SAED initiative encourages every youth not to waste time seeking white collar jobs instead of doing something worthwhile. The government cannot provide white collar jobs for all the unemployed youths at a time. Even if it wanted to, where is it going to start from? With the population of unemployed youths given above? Youths had better starting helping themselves by enrolling in a craft and stop expecting miraculous job opportunities. If a youth engages himself/herself in any skills acquisition programme and eventually gets a white collar job, it only becomes a bonus to the person.  The income of a salary earner is not even enough to take care of their needs due to the high cost of living in the nation. The wise amongst them have backup; they are engaged in one trade or the other and do not depend on salary alone. Therefore, the SAED entrepreneurship development is an empowerment medium for youths who are seen as the leaders of tomorrow.

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