Graduates in Benin opine that the Internship Programme of the Federal Government can cushion Unemployment

By Ossai Ilome

The Federal Government has been advised to sustain the Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) in order to check the high level of graduates’ unemployment in the country.

Participants in the Federal Ministry of Finance sponsored three-day training in Benin made the appeal in their separate testimonies at the workshop.

Over 91 participants are taking part in Career Development and Entrepreneurship Training for GIS Interns.

The participants expressed optimism that continuation of the scheme would increase the chances of GIS beneficiaries to become self-reliant and employable in the saturated labour market.

They said aside the initial challenges encountered at their different places of internship, ``many of us have learnt to become self-confident, self-reliant and ready to become employers of labour from our field experiences.’’

A participant, Mr Martin Eholo, a graduate of History, said he had already learnt how to grow palm seedlings from his farm house internship training experience.

Miss Judith Enabulele said although she read Economics, ``I have become proficient in computer programming and office management from my internship.’’

Earlier, Mr. Peter Papka, Project Director, Graduate Internship Scheme, Career Development and Entrepreneurship Training for Interns in the Federal Ministry of Finance, said the training would be beneficial.

According to him, the training is to evaluate the job market and the interns’ understanding of entrepreneurship development before their exit from the programme.

Papka said government was optimistic that the participants had acquired skills and experience that would `` placed them in a position to contribute meaningfully to national development.

``I wish to note that GIS is one of the many success stories of government’s efforts to reduce graduate unemployment.

``On your part, you must ensure that your internship adds value not just to your immediate employers but to the nation as a whole,’’ he said.

The director, represented by Mr Idoko Ode, assured the participants of government’s sustenance of the scheme.

``Many Nigerians are already clamouring for the sustenance of the scheme beyond 2015, by developing a national policy to guide its implementation,’’ he added.

Speaking on the objective of the program, Mr. Godfrey Ajayi, Managing Director, G-Consulting, who manages the scheme for ministry of finance, said among the objectives of the training was to prepare and provide interns exiting the scheme with opportunities to learn wealth creation in different sectors.

‘The training was aimed at enhancing the employability of up to 50,000 (by 2015) unemployed graduates in the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT through internship programs in pre-selected institutions.

``To reduce the vulnerability of unemployed graduates, to build manpower base towards attaining national development operations and to provide income supplement and a social safety net for unemployed graduates,’’ he said.