Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS), a nationwide continuous training programme, is collaborating with government and non-governmental organisations to train graduate and prepare them for the future.

The partnership is designed to reduce the rate of unemployment among youth and empower them by promoting career development and free enterprise.

Graduate Internship Scheme was created by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan and was developed on by the present administration to help increase job creation and enhance social protection among the youth.

It does this by providing internship opportunities for graduates, who could be employed by the organisations or have enough training to be self-employed.
According to the Project Director of GIS, Mr. Dennis Chukwu, who was represented by the Head of ICT GIS, Mr. Lassa Samaila, at a workshop in Lagos, recently, the training aims to promote skills building and job creation and the scheme has developed special programmes, which would benefit the non-oil sector.

Chukwu said GIS has entered into special partnerships with governmental and non-governmental organisations to have graduates trained, mentored and supported in areas such as; non-oil export trade, ICT, agriculture, community health, construction, financial inclusion, among others.

He said the internship programme, which would last for 12 months, comes with successes, challenges, and attendant curiosities thereby bringing them to crossroads where they would be fully equipped and prepared to enter into the job market or start-up businesses of their own choice.

Chukwu further explained that the Career Development and Entrepreneurship Skills training have been designed to help answer the question of ‘what next’. “At the end of the training, each graduate is expected to develop an action plan that will guide the next few years of your life.”

He added that skills and experience acquired through GIS internship programme “will help them to contribute meaningfully to national development. So far, 41,161 graduates from the ages of 18 to 40 have benefitted from the scheme, with 68% males, 31% females and 1% vulnerable. Over 35,000 have exited the scheme, with thousands of them having secured jobs. Many have secured credit facilities and grants (including YouWiN! Grant) to expand businesses they set up using GIS stipends and many have set up cooperative associations, some of which have transformed into SMEs. Rather than seeking for work, they are now becoming employers.”

Samaila, Head of ICT, GIS, said to enhance credibility, the scheme has improved on the system and that it would also continue to improve its capacity to absorb more applicants. “In other to prevent misappropriation and embezzlement in the scheme, the civil servant structure, which is a more guaranteed structure, has been implemented.” He added that the monetary evaluation system has also been implemented to ensure that fund allocated is audited and accounted for.

He advised graduate interns to submit all requirements needed by the scheme to enable the system carryout its functions. He said though the scheme was the first of its kind in Africa but that there was still room for improvement.

Some of the graduates, during their testimonies, said GIS Internship is a scheme that they have benefited from despite the present state of the nation’s economy.
It would be recalled that the federal government’s purpose of setting up the Graduate Internship Scheme was to ensure that unemployed graduates acquired skills that would make them employable.

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