In a bid to stem the rising unemployment rate in the country, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Wednesday revealed the Buhari-led Government plans to launch a 20,000 yearly graduate job fellowship to be called the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP), in addition to employment opportunities created through the Economic Sustainability Plan and job schemes being implemented under the Social Investment Programme.
The fully-paid internships will last for 12 months and will be in reputable private and public sector organizations across the country.
The VP said the scheme which will be launched soon by President Muhammadu Buhari, is in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme and other private sector partners like Private sector partners of the programme include, BUA, Dangote, VISA Nigeria, Outsource Global, GE Gas and Power, Lafarge Africa, SecureID, Microsoft, among others.
According to the Vice President “as we prepare for the formal launch of the programme by Mr President, I urge private sector leaders and captains of industry, development partners and the diplomatic community, to support this program aimed at equipping young Nigerians with skills and experience required for the work place.”
Under the initiative, his media spokesman, Laolu Akande explained, internship opportunities will be created for young Nigerians who have recently concluded the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme.
Osinbajo said the NJFP “is in very good company, a new and bold addition to an existing suite of large-scale, big-impact programmes that will rewrite the narrative as it relates to jobs, skills and employment in Nigeria.”
He added, “we are resolute in our determination to make the needed difference, and rebuild the confidence of our young people in the ability of their government to rise to the occasion and guarantee a future that is better and more prosperous than the past.”
The Vice President noted that “our ongoing efforts include the N-Power Scheme, which recruits young graduates and places them in agricultural, health and education intervention schemes in local communities around the country. N-Power also has a non-graduate scheme focused on technical skills and IT education. The President has approved the expansion of the N-Power programme from 500,000 beneficiaries to one million.
“We have also established a N75 billion Youth Fund in the Ministry of Youth and Sports to provide credit and support for young entrepreneurs and professionals.”
Osinbajo added that there is also the $500 million African Development Bank Technology and Innovation Fund which the AFDB’s Ag. Senior Director Mr. Lamin Barrow also mentioned at the event.
“Also under our Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), designed to protect existing jobs, create new ones, and promote local production, our agricultural, housing and solar power programmes already employ and will employ tens of thousands of people to ensure food security, and deliver affordable homes and new power connections.”
Stating the support of the United Nations for the programme, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations Systems in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, said the launch and eventual implementation of the scheme would redefine the future of Nigeria.
According to him, “having a population of 41 million young people constituting 30% of the youth population in Africa, empowering young Nigerians will be key in the actualisation of a better future for Africa.”
His words: “the Jubilee Fellows Programme will champion homegrown Nigerian talent and opportunities. It will connect inspiring young Nigerians with local opportunities that will apply their expertise, while equipping them with world class practical knowledge.
“The Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme will bridge the gap between graduates and industry. Through this programme, private sector entities, startups and key public sector institutions will be connected directly to graduates to find the best young talent that Nigeria has to offer. Graduates will be able to to better understand the needs, challenges and realities that industries broadly face, and learn how best to contribute to address them.”
Commending the leadership provided by Osinbajo, Kallon said “what you are supporting today will lead to a bright future for Nigeria, and will outlive your administration. If there is a viable investment development partners will make in Nigeria, this is the one that is dearest to them and in which they will surely support.”
On his part, the representative of the EU at the event, Ketil Karlsen, pledged the support of the organization for the programme, affirming the EU’s confidence in the Nigerian youth.