The Graduate Internship Scheme was created to check the growing rate of graduate unemployment.
With graduate unemployment rate put at about 24 per cent by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, the Federal Government initiated the Graduate Internship Scheme, GIS, as a component of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P. Introduced in the wake of the January 2012 national protest against the attempt to remove the subsidy on petrol, it is meant to check the growing rate of graduates unemployment.
The following provides eleven points interested graduates should note about the scheme.
1. The Graduate Internship Scheme, GIS, was launched in October, 2012 as a social safety net component of the Federal Government Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE –P, scheme, to create opportunity for Nigerian graduates to be attached to reputable public/private firms /organisations to be trained and mentored for one year on a monthly Federal Government stipend of N18, 000.
2. The scheme implemented by the Federal Ministry of Finance provides fresh graduates short term employment opportunity to sharpen their skills and gain some working experience and enhance their employability, with a target to employ about 50,000 unemployed youth in the 36 states of the Federation and Abuja in the first phase before the end of 2013. About 1,000 beneficiaries would come from each of the states, with the number of participants to be raised to 100,000 in the next phase.
3. Out of about 84,772 applications so far received since the inception of the scheme, 59, 872 are males, while 24,900 are females, and 329 physically challenged individuals. About 1,371 firms, out of about 1,937 that registered, were verified, out of which 1,078 applications were rejected, and only 293 approved.
4. To be eligible to be selected to participate in the GIS scheme, interested firms must be legal entities registered with Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, with evidence of value added tax (VAT) registration and tax clearance certificates, in addition to the provision of a mentoring plan for each intern.
5. Prospective interns must be Nigerian graduates aged between 18 and 40 years, who must have either completed the mandatory National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, or collected the exemption certificate from the relevant authorities.
6. Organisations interested in taking interns are expected to set selection criteria for each position, while the electronic system would automatically send them a pool of qualified graduates from where the organisations would choose their preferred candidate. Interns’ field of study and state of residence are matched to firms/organisations on a first-come first-served basis. Selected candidate would be notified and invited to report at the organisation for documentation.
7. Interns are provided with an orientation training to prepare them for the challenges of the workplace. Interns that demonstrate virtues of industry, exemplary conduct and commitment to diligent service during their internship period stand a chance to be hired on a permanent basis.
8. To register to participate in the scheme, organisations and young unemployed graduates must register on the GIS website, http://www.wyesurep.gov.ng. Interns must fill in all their personal and official details, including their bio-data, field of study and state of residence, while the firms/organisations fill in their details, including their core competence, years of business experience and office address.
9. Verification of all interns, firms/organisations would be conducted to confirm that information provided, particularly about their mentoring capabilities and the numbers of interns they are capable of catering for, are correct.
10. Interns would be deployed to firms/organisations for the commencement of their internship after signing the memorandum of understanding (MoU) and Internship Agreement.
11. While the interns would benefit from the opportunity to enhance their skills and professional expertise on the job, in addition to the monthly upkeep stipend, registered firms/organisations under the scheme would enjoy free labour at government expense, apart from the additional incentives in the form of tax rebates and cost-free opportunity to render their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to the community in which they are operating.