Members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) have called for a review of the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme of the scheme.
The programme was established in 2012 to “coordinate efforts towards empowering corp members nationwide to become thriving entrepreneurs and value-adding employees after their service year.”
Before the initiative became compulsory for corps members, there had been a growing concern among fresh graduates over the gradual disappearance of white collar jobs in the country.
In response to the concern, the federal government introduced the vocational and entrepreneurship development programme to train corps members in cosmetology, construction, agro-allied, ICT, film and photography, power and energy, automobile, education, culture and tourism, among others.
Despite the success stories recorded by some corp members through the NYSC SAED initiative, many corps members have tagged the initiative as a “scam” and “time-consuming” and called on the government to review its implementation.
Chukwuyem Divine, a corps member in Abuja, describe NYSC SAED as a great initiative with poor implementation.
“The idea of the NYSC SAED programme is great but the implementation is poor,” he stated in an interview with our reporter.
“I will not blame my fellow corps members who called the initiative a scam due to so many irregularities I can attest to. I boycotted the training not because I am certain of white collar job after my youth service, but because of the clear exploitation, lack of professionalism of the trainers and the wrong timing,” Mr Chukwuyem said.
“Most of our SAED lectures usually hold for three hours or more after intense morning parade when corps members must have been tired.”
Another corps member in Edo State said he and some colleagues did not participate in the programme because they could not afford the fees they were told to pay.
The corps member, David Ojumoola, said: “I was very disappointed when the coordinator sent me out because I could not afford the #1000 they asked us to pay outside the money the Federal Government set aside for the SAED training.”
This reporter made several attempts to reach the spokesperson of the NYSC in Abuja, Adenike Adeyemi, for her comment for this story but she did not pick calls to her telephone or respond to text messages.
On how to improve the programme, Mr Ojumoola urged the NYSC to set aside a day in the week for practical SAED classes, just as in the Community Development Service (CDS).
On his part, Mr Chukwuyem called for a total review of the programme implementation so as to protect coming corp members against exploitation by administrators of the programme.