No fewer than 41,161 graduates have benefitted from the Graduate Internship Scheme, GIS, of the Federal Government and supervised by the Ministry of Finance.
The scheme’s facilitator in Ogun, Abubakar Orumah, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, while reviewing the success of the programme in the state.
The 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.
Mr. Orumah said that 60 participants graduated from the programme in Ogun on September 3 after 12 months of internship and were presented with certificate by the Ministry of Finance.
He said the certificate was in recognition of the participants’ skills during the programme.
According to him, the scheme is initiated by government to assist young graduates to become employers rather than seeking for job.
“So far, 41,161 graduates have benefitted from the scheme with 68 per cent males, 31 per cent females and 1 per cent vulnerable.
“Over 35,000 have exited the scheme, with thousands of them having secured jobs; many have secured credit facilities and grants to expand businesses they set up using GIS stipends.
“Many have set up cooperative associations, some of which have transformed into SMEs.
“The programme presents an opportunity for graduate interns to gain employment in organisations where they worked and in other establishments or self-employment,” Mr. Orumah said.
He noted that the scheme had demonstrated high prospects for job creation and social protection of the youth since its inception.
He also said that Nigerian youth had proven that no amount of pressure, threats and inducement could derail their resolve for change when they were focused.
Mr. Orumah, who is the Director of Abusanigo Global Concept, a consulting firm based in Abuja, said that the changes currently being witnessed in Nigeria was a product of the resilience of Nigerian youths.
He urged the participants to use the opportunity of the internship period to face the challenges and attendant curiosities in life.
“It has also brought you to a crossroad where you are now able to ask yourself the question of who you have become through the process of the GIS.
“And how that has prepared you for where you want to be in future,’’ he added.
He commended the public, private and non-governmental organisations that had over the years demonstrated their commitment to Nigerian youth by agreeing to partner with the scheme and host graduates for 12 months.
Mr. Orumah urged the graduates to join hands with the government to achieve its task of national development.
He assured that government was working hard to ensure that unemployed graduates acquired skills which would make them employers of labour.
Mr. Orumah added: “As long as thousands of graduates still remain unemployed, I assure you that government will continue to improve the capacity of the scheme to absorb more applicants.
“My hope is that the GIS will be yet, another example that Nigeria will sell to the world as a way out of graduate 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.”