The 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.