Posted by News Express | 2 May 2013 | 2,575 times
Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Mr. Tony O. Elumelu, CON, has made a strong case for the empowerment of young Nigerians, saying that this is necessary if they, as the leaders of tomorrow, are to build and transform the nation.
Speaking at the Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) stakeholders’ interactive session held at the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja, Elumelu said it is imperative to enhance the skills set of Nigerian graduates and improve their chances for employment if the Nigerian economy is to grow at sustainable rates.
“To me, this initiative is about more than creating employees; it is about turning these young men and women into tomorrow’s employers of labour. Hard work and professionalism is key,” said Elumelu in a goodwill message at the event, an initiative borne by the Nigeria Government, which was attended by stakeholders of the initiative, including Dr. Christopher Kolade, Mr Leo Stan Ekeh, chairman of Zinox Technologies, and key government leaders.
Pledging his support for the scheme, Elumelu, who is the immediate past CEO of UBA Plc, said: "Heirs Holdings will demonstrate support for this progressive initiative by engaging some of these graduates in our companies.
As the government and the private sector work hand-in-hand to create job opportunities, these young individuals must also be proactive in enhancing their professional growth and development.”
In her speech at the event, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, declared that “Government is serious about tackling youth unemployment, and the GIS has had visible results.”
She disclosed that “85,000 graduates have registered with the programme, 1,000 have been paired with host companies,” adding: “We need more companies to come on-board and the government has created fiscal incentives for those firms that retain interns.”
Launched in October 2012, GIS is designed to create opportunities for university graduates to be attached to firms, where they may work for a year and enjoy a monthly stipend of N18,000. With the experience gained, interns will have improved their chances of employment following the programme.
The core objectives of the scheme are to provide unemployed graduates with work experience and skills that enhance their employability, to address the dearth of qualified, skilled manpower required for national development, and to mitigate against the problem of graduate unemployment.
•Photo shows Elumelu.
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