Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday unveiled plans by the federal government to launch a job fellowship scheme for graduates under which 20,000 youths will be employed annually.
Osinbajo said the programme was being supported by the European Union (EU), Dangote Group, Bua Cement, Lafarge Cement, Visa, Microsoft, among other private sector partners.
He added that the programme will rebuild confidence in the country’s youths.
Spokesman to the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, in a statement yesterday, said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other private sector partners was set to launch the scheme, to be called the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP).
Osinbajo stated that Buhari would soon launch the 12-month job fellowship programme.
He added: “We are looking forward to the president formally launching the programme very shortly.
“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 programme aimed at equipping young Nigerians with skills and experience required for the work place.”
Under the initiative, internship opportunities will be created for young Nigerians who have recently concluded the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme. The fully-paid internships will last for 12 months and will be in reputable private and public sector organisations.
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.
“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.
“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.
He added: “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.”
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.
He added: “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.
“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 better understand the needs, challenges and realities that industries broadly face, and learn how best to contribute to address them.”
Also speaking at the event, the representative of the EU, Mr Ketil Karlsen, pledged the support of the organisation to the programme.
Private sector partners of the programme include, BUA, Dangote, VISA Nigeria, Outsource Global, GE Gas and Power, Lafarge Africa, SecureID and Microsoft.