SURE – P – As the clamour for job creation continues with the year 2014 swiftly running out, an official of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) has said the federal government still plans to engage 25,000 graduates before December ends.
The Chief Project Officer for Community Service, Women and Youth Empowerment of SURE – P, Mr. Istifanus Bargo who spoke with WEEKEND at a recent job fair said its project on Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) is designed to employ 50,000 Nigerian youth yearly so they can develop youths skills, empowering them to gain meaningful employment.
GIS engages unemployed graduates yearly with stipends
We are here today for a job fair; we invited employers and unemployed graduates here so employers can select graduates that would work with them for one year. The SURE-P pays a monthly stipend of N30, 000 to the engaged graduates. The aim is not just to reduce unemployment but to graduates, garner experience to either go into private practice or be suitable for employment.
We had challenges of convincing employers initially
When we started in 2012, we did not achieve much because the private sector was skeptical of government projects. Labour employers did not believe in the scheme initially despite the sensitization across the federation. As of today, we have about 180,000 registered unemployed graduates in our database and we have engaged over 10,000. We are hoping to engage 25,000 more graduates before the year ends and another 25,000 next year.
Our charge to employers
Employers should see the GIS as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to help build the critical manpower required for take-off by these graduates. The idea for us is to improve your employability skills. Discussions are on with employers who key massively into these ventures to enjoy some tax rebate from government.
Notable success as Sokoto Govt, others request 800 engaged graduates
We have had very commendable success story. In Sokoto, the Governor requested for 250 graduates on Information Technology (IT) to teach students on basic computer skills ahead of e-WAEC and e-JAMB in 2015. Zamfara also took 250 of our graduates in Agriculture Extension. They have already employed 70 to drive their Agriculture Extension Services. Then Ondo State engaged another 300 trained graduates who would be given grants to start their enterprise.
Some employers maltreat GIS intern, but we are tackling that
Some employers do ask interns to remit their stipend while others got ghost interns just to extort money from government. We have told interns to report such cases as we will not tolerate this attitude. We appeal to companies to also support government by giving interns some stipends too.