Lack Of Skills Hindering Youth Employment, Says Presidential Aide

Afolabi Imokhuede

President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide has identified the employability status of Nigerian youths to be one of the major factors hindering employment in the country.

Mr Afolabi Imokhuede, who is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation and Youth Employment, stated this on Monday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

“The majority of our challenge even with youth unemployment in Nigeria is also tied to the employability status of lots of our youths,” he said.

“Anytime we sit and engage, even as recent as two weeks ago at the Nigerian Economic Summit, the skills and competencies of our youths is always a major topic of conversation.”

Imokhuede, however, said President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, remained committed to fulfilling their campaign promises made to the youths in 2015.

But he insisted that “In as much as we have jobs constraint, the reality is that the competencies of our youths to fit into those jobs are also a consideration.”

On the Social Investment Programme, the presidential aide said, “One of the critical cardinals of that social investment is the job creation component targeted primarily at the youth between the ages of 18-35, which we’ve now come to know as the N-Power programme.”

“Now, that programme as ambitious as it sets out to equip at least about 500,000 of our unemployed youths with employable and enhancement skills and competencies over a two-year period.

“As we speak now, the first 200,000 are in their 11th month because they started December 2016 and they are volunteering their time in our public primary schools across all the 774 local governments in Nigeria, in our primary health centres and also in our agric-development programme,” he added.

Imokhuede hinted further that government plans to announce the second phase of the programme which targets 300,000 youths in November.

He said, “That is completely even different from what we do with the non-graduate programme because the N-Power programme is not only for graduates.”

“Even our non-graduates, those who have their SSCE certificates and above, are able to come into the skills competency programme both in vocational and technology and we are getting ready to roll out the vocational component in the next few weeks as well, in the very month of November,” he added.

FG Says 200,000 Youths Mobilized For Social Investment Programme

FG Says 200,000 Youths Mobilized For Social Investment ProgrammeThe Nigerian government says it has mobilized 200,000 youths out of the targeted 500,000 for the volunteer graduate scheme in its social investment programme.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation, Afolabi Imokhuede, was on Sunrise Daily on Channels Television, where he shared updates on the progress of the programme.

“As you know, it’s a paid volunteer programme for two years wherein they will work as teaching assistants in the public primary schools. They will work as healthcare delivery assistants in the community health centre and also as Agric Extension workers in the farms.

“We’ve done this in strong collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Heath and basically the 36 states and the FCT,” he said.

He gave a background into the Social Investment Programme and how it has been designed, explaining that asides the graduate component which is for 500,000 beneficiaries, there is also the non-graduate component which is for about 100,000 people out of which 75,000 will go for vocational jobs while the remaining will go for technology-based jobs.

He gave the assurance that contrary to criticisms, the project has been done with consideration for the needs in the states and in collaboration with the governors.

“Each state governor has given us a focal person and these are very senior persons in the level of commissioners or special advisers to them and obviously the FCT Minister also has given us a focal person.

“The states are actually going to be in charge of deployment as the demand is.

“The programme is designed such that those who are going for the ‘Teach Programme’ would go into public primary schools but some states have already started making suggestions that they may also want to deploy them to junior secondary schools but those will be up to the states,” he said.

Imokhuede noted that the programme has been designed to “speak to the needs of the economy” especially in line with the diversification efforts of the government.

This makes its collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture an important part of the scheme.

He explained that the agric extension workers would not only be trained but would also be provided with tools while a web-based training portal will be available to them to facilitate the “earn while you learn” system.

Collaboration with the private sector still remains an integral part of government’s drive to create jobs in the country and Mr Imokhuede stated that the Social Investment Programme is not an attempt by the government to take the place of entrepreneurs.

Rather, the private sector will become beneficiaries of the output on the long run.

He added that unlike the graduate scheme, the empowerment scheme which involves vocational and technological trainings would be private sector driven.

“Our private sector partners are very active. They are the ones who are actually going to provide the needed apprenticeship and work experience that these young beneficiaries would get,” he said.