NYSC Corps Members’ Empowerment; A Potential Panacea To Unemployment
The world is getting seriously overcrowded, with the alarming increase in population of youths as graduates who desire to have great and promising future with the hope of handpicking already made jobs; in situations where such hope doesn’t favour them as anticipated, they become vulnerable to vices simply because they have no opportunity to get themselves empowered with the skills set they require to thrive in the employment or entrepreneurial space. In most countries, skills acquisition programmes are developed for the unemployed youths, to empower them with these skill sets. it is advantageously advised that people should be encouraged to be empowered with skills that will enable them combat hunger which will also mould them to be independent individuals and employers of labour.
When a man is productively engaged, he rarely avails himself for unproductive engagement; the thoughts of constituting unhealthy public nuisance is borne out of idleness. when one is gainfully empowered through skill acquisition programs amongst other forms of empowerment typologies, the expectations are of applaudable outcomes and its achievements will never be farfetched.
The Nigerian National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is a mandatory one year national service for graduates of tertiary institutions in Nigeria. It is a government agency created in a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian civil war, over 300,000 graduates of universities and polytechnics are mobilized for the service year annually. In a bid to achieve its objectives to empower the youth graduates with self-employment alternatives and interventions to answer to the high unemployment challenges, National Youth Service Corps Skill Acquisition & Entrepreneurship Department (NYSC-SAED) was established. The NYSC has earlier collaborated with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bank of Industry to de-risk credit and ensure access to finance for the youth corpers, who are also given entrepreneurship training. However, less than 3% of the youth corps members have been able to build successful and viable businesses after the service year. In some cases, they are also struggling with repayments on the loans granted to them to start businesses.
General Electric recognizes the importance of entrepreneurial skills development in building sustainable economy and market growth among graduates in Nigeria; for this reason, it is sponsoring capacity building of her partners (NYSC officials) to empower Corps members with entrepreneurship skills as a strategy to employment creation. Cognity Advisory was engaged to revamp the entrepreneurship training process of the NYSC. Our approach was to leverage our collaboration with the International Labour Organization, to introduce ILO’s successful entrepreneurship development curriculum; Start & Improve Your Business (SIYB), to train NYSC’s staff drawn from its state operations across the country.
The Start & Improve Your Business (SIYB) programme focuses on starting and improving small businesses as a strategy for creating more and better decent employment for women and men, particularly in emerging economies. With an estimated outreach in over 130 countries, 15 million entrepreneurs and a network of over, 300 Master Trainers, 3000 Partner Organization, 65,000 trainers as well as a range of materials translated into over 40 languages, it is one of the world’s largest BDS programmes in this field. Through its four inter-related packages – Generate Your Business Idea (GYBI), Start Your Business (SYB), Improve Your Business (IYB), and Expand Your Business (EYB) — SIYB aims to create jobs by enabling potential and existing small entrepreneurs to (i) start viable businesses, (ii) to increase the profitability of their existing enterprises and to (iii) to improve the working conditions of their employees in a way that enhances productivity. Its implementation model is based on a three-tier structure comprising Master Trainers, Trainers and the end beneficiaries potential and existing entrepreneurs — which enables both large scale outreach through a multiplier effect as well as quality control through the feedback mechanisms between the actors.
SIYB training programme constitutes of four interrelated training packages namely; Generate Your Business Idea (GYBI), Start Your Business (SYB), Improve Your Business (IYB) and Expand Your Business (EYB). The training of trainers was conducted as a result of the need for NYSC staffs to develop their capacities in the delivery of the SIYB program. sought the support of GE in building capacity of her staff as trainers in adapting and using the ILO- Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) BDS tools aimed at empowering the youth across the country owing to its structures spread across the 36 states in Nigeria. The trainers would then be in position to train Corps members to foster better entrepreneurship and business management skills that would ultimately enhance their business profitability and sustainability in a bid to solve the unemployment problem among the youth.
Having succinctly identified the values attached to skills acquisition and entrepreneurship education as a wonderful typology of empowerment, it is imperative to enjoin potential beneficiaries (Corps Members) of this initiative to hold dearly and guide jealously every bit of advice and teaching cum orientations they get in the course of undergoing this program. The SIYB training programs have a goal of creating opportunities for graduates to become independent individuals and employers of labour.
The New Direction partnership will strive to cement harmonious relationship between Corps Members and youth empowerment programs, NYSC will now be able to deliver good quality entrepreneurship education to its service members and further support them after their new businesses have been launched.