In line with Mr. President’s Transformation Agenda and his promise to mitigate the spate of youth unemployment in the country through the re-investment of the subsidy funds, the Federal Government initiated the Graduate Internship Scheme and Community Service Scheme for Women & Youth (CSWYE) under the Social Safety net component of Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P). The ultimate goal is to reduce unemployment among youths and women in the communities and stimulate economic growth, as part of the priority transformation agenda of the current administration, while also enhancing opportunities towards the attainment of Vision 2020. The national safety net programme targets the poor and vulnerable on a continuous basis.
The first component of CSWYE is the Community Services Scheme, which aims to provide temporary employment to up to 370,000 youth in labour intensive community development services. It is designed to target large numbers of poorly skilled unemployed and it has benefited 3,000 people (29% success rate) in each of the 36 states. The second component of the CSWYE programme is the Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS), which is designed to enhance the employability of up to 100,000 unemployed graduates in the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT. A total of 18, 426 beneficiaries were reached in 2012 (about 10% of expected success rate); with the additional goal of engaging a further 5,000 beneficiaries annually from every state in the Federation.
According to a recent report of the Ministerial Committee in FCT (2013), there has been an astronomic upsurge in the population of the FCT with corresponding expansion in settlements across the territory. This has greatly raised the tempo of social-economic and industrial activities in the Territory thus making it increasingly prone to youth restiveness and its residents vulnerable to various social hazards.
The focus of this proposal, therefore, is to develop and implement a community-based employment initiative that will create opportunities for unemployed graduates to enable them acquire skills and enhance their employability. This pilot initiative will provide a ONE-STOP-SHOP that will enable access to government’s youth employment activities, including skills acquisition opportunities. This project is focusing on a PRACTICAL AND VISIBLE community based approach to citizen employment.
Young workers entering the workforce face an uncertain job market; this is despite the fact that some sectors face labour shortages that young Nigerians have the skills to fill. Getting a job is a function of who you know as well as what you know. Many Nigerians typically lack contacts with mainstream labour markets, finding a job including government employment youth initiative opportunities can be an elusive goal. In addition to the severe shortage of jobs in many communities, two factors contribute to the absence of opportunities:
- Lack of skills and
- Lack of equitable access to employment opportunities.
Issues related to the lack of skills are becoming even more difficult because of the changing nature of work itself. Entry-level jobs in most sectors have become increasingly complex, requiring relatively high levels of education and skill. Technological changes are constantly transforming the nature of work in most sectors, with skills quickly becoming obsolete. Today, the only means to obtain some measure of job security is to achieve “skill security”— the ability to learn a higher level skill, and to continually update or learn new skills to match rapid technological changes.
Government can however do a lot more in enhancing access to ‘latent’ jobs and opportunities for wealth creation which are out there both in the public and private sectors. Our youths continue to face the challenges of accessing such relevant information. The Ministry of Labour and Productivity, by championing job creation, securing rights to work, social protection, dialogue and gender equality in the workplace, now faces more salient challenges such as equity in job creation, equitable access to information, skill acquisition and jobs, social justice and equitable rights for young people and women. Frandek Development Initiative believes that the voluntary sector has a critical role to play in bringing the opportunities from government employment initiatives to the door step of vulnerable communities. It is with this view that FDI is keen to work collaboratively with the other stakeholders.
According to UNDP, confronting regional variations in the determinants of gender inequality requires policies based on an understanding of the underlying socioeconomic, social and cultural factors. Collaborative effort will thus be critical to the achievement of this goal. The increasing retreat of government from the market place in terms of direct job employment opens a window for Frandek Development Initiative to meet the increasing job demands.
Frandek Development Initiative (FDI) is aware that skills and access to employment opportunities are the two essential ingredients of a successful job search. Connecting job seekers to jobs is even more necessary in the era of economic reform in which large numbers of job seekers are required to enter the world of private sector work as a result of the shrinking role of government in business. There is increasing recognition of the critical role that Community Based Employment Initiatives can play, such initiatives provides easy access to employment needs.
ONE-STOP-SHOP is based on the principle of equity and access in Employment Delivery as well as the principle of bringing the employment service to the community that needs it most.
The essence of the ONE-STOP-SHOP is to have an opportunity for government to provide Visible Evidence of its efforts especially in the area of youth employment and job creation. ONE-STOP-SHOP is based on the principle of:
- Equity and access in employment delivery
- Bringing the employment service to the doorstep of youth within their community
- Link the vulnerable communities to government employment initiatives.
As a veritable public private partnership, ONE-STOP-SHOP can begin to level the playing field by giving residents of – 3 pilot communities in FCT Abuja, greater access to job openings both in their immediate area and in the wider metropolitan economy. ONE-STOP-SHOP can serve as a bridge linking targeted job seekers with employers, thus helping the macro-economy to make local labour markets work better for low income people in targeted programmes.
The ONE-STOP-SHOP holds promise of:
- Linking disadvantaged job seekers to private and public sector employers.
- Job advisory service providing greater access to job openings and meeting employability needs of employers
- Empowering Graduates and non-graduates alike with skills for entrepreneurship through training and seminars
- Gender parity and equality in employment, empowerment and entrepreneurial development
- Improving social and economic outcomes in pilot communities in FCT.
- Creating access to a pool of funding opportunities for disbursing small start-up grants for small businesses.
- Replicability and sustainability
- Mentoring and re-orientation of business and work ethics
ONE-STOP-SHOP provides access to youths who seek employment and wealth creation to understand the activities of Government on the:
- WHERE, to seek employment opportunities
It will be sustained on performance based principles that takes account of
- How many young people were helped to get jobs
- How they were assisted in getting these jobs and how
- When these efforts took place
- Sustainability of Young People on the job
The pilot initiative and its philosophy fit into Mr. Presidents Transformation Agenda. The ONE-STOP-SHOP initiative model has worked in other climes and FDI wants to adapt it to meet youth employment needs in the Nigerian communities. The ONE-STOP-SHOP model can be replicated in other States of the Federation.
WHAT CAN ONE-STOP-SHOP DO?
It seeks to bring information about employment opportunities and government initiatives through the SURE-P to the Community:
- It will provide a walk-in service where young graduates can access information about job opportunities
- It will provide technical expertise for counselling young people about the skills and knowledge they possess and how they can best use these skills
- It will provide a Mentoring Scheme for young job seekers
- It will provide opportunities for skills building
- It will serve as a point of contact and support for those who receive government grants and the various employment initiatives to ensure sustainability of their effort.
PROPOSED PILOT INITIATIVE
In conjunction with our other stakeholders, it is proposed that FDI would work with 3 identified locations. This pilot initiative will be designed and implemented and based on the current success factors of the CSWYE. The pilot project sites will require the designation of:
- Accessible and fully equipped centres with IT facilities
- Professional manpower will be engaged
- Training faculty, mentoring team, counselling experts and human resource experts, and recruiters.