FG To Partner UN, EU, Others In 12-Month Job Fellowship For 20,000 Graduates

Photo caption: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the official announcement of the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme in Abuja on Wednesday. Photo: Tolani Alli, Office of the Vice President.

As part of efforts to rebuild confidence and help Nigerian youths make a difference in life, the Federal Government is to partner with the United Nations Development Programme and the European Union for the launch of a 20,000 yearly graduate job fellowship

The scheme, codenamed Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP), which will involve private sector players like Dangote Group, Visa, BUA, Lafarge Africa, and Microsoft, among others, is in addition to employment opportunities created through the Economic Sustainability Plan and job schemes being implemented under the Social Investment Programme.

Under the initiative, fully-paid internship opportunities billed to last for 12 months will be created for young Nigerians who recently concluded the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in reputable private and public sector organizations across the country.

While making the formal announcement in Abuja, a statement by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity, quoted Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, as assuring that the 12-month job fellowship programme would be launched very soon by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Ahead of the formal launch of the programme, Osinbajo urged ‘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.”

The NJFP, he assured, “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.”

According to the VP, “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 N75bn Youth Fund in the Ministry of Youth and Sports to provide credit and support for young entrepreneurs and professionals,” noting that there is also the $500m African Development Bank Technology and Innovation Fund.

“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.”

Expressing the support of the United Nations for the programme, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations Systems in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said the launch and eventual implementation of the scheme would redefine Nigeria’s future.

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.

“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.”

Commending the leadership provided by the VP, 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.”

Also commenting, the representative of the EU, Ketil Karlsen, pledged the support of his organization for the programme, affirming the EU’s confidence in the Nigerian youth.

Private sector partners of the programme included, BUA, Dangote, VISA Nigeria, Outsource Global, GE Gas and Power, Lafarge Africa, SecureID, Microsoft, among others.

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