Ongoing efforts by Federal Government to reduce unemployment in the country gained a boost with the recruitment of 510 Nigerian youths into the N-Power Programme Batch-C (Stream 1) under the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIPs).
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq who flagged off the exercise for the 36 States of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), in Abuja; explained that out of over 6 million new applications received, 1 million beneficiaries were mined for the N-Power Batch C.
According to her, “Batch C is divided into 2 streams. Stream C1 of 510,000 beneficiaries and stream C2 for 490,000 beneficiaries. Under Batch C1, a total of 450,000 have been selected to benefit under the Graduate component, while 60,000 beneficiaries will be Non-Graduate beneficiaries.
She explained that the successful beneficiaries who made it through to the final selection stage, are to work in 3 core segments, namely: N-Power Volunteer Corps which is the Graduate programme; N-Power Build, which is a Non-Graduate programme and N-Power Knowledge – which is also a non-graduate programme but deliberately designed on ICT skills.
“It includes the N-Tech Hardware, N-Tech Software and the N-Creative training programmes. Volunteers are strategically attached to carefully selected Places of Primary Assignments (PPAs) where they will provide technical services while also receiving work experience.
“The graduate programme is further sub-divided into N-Teach under which volunteers are trained and attached as assistant teachers in primary schools. The N-Agro volunteers are attached as extension agents to support farmers to obtain better performance, while the N-Health volunteers are trained and attached to work as public health assistants mainly in public Primary Healthcare facilities. The N-Health volunteers are also trained to provide basic diagnostic services in the Primary Health Care Development Centres and will teach preventive healthcare to community members including pregnant women, children, families and individuals especially in rural areas.
“The Non-Graduate programme targets youth in the age bracket of 18-35 with a minimum of secondary school education. The Programme seeks to deliver skills to Job/enterprise through accelerated training and certification. They are trained, tooled and transitioned to take up jobs as Electrical Installation Technicians, plumbing and pipe-fitting installers, masons, carpentry and joinery experts, automobile technicians, Agric technicians and hospitality experts.
“The N-Power Knowledge (Hardware, Software and Creative) is also a non-graduate programme and has 3-months and 6 months components for training beneficiaries on foundational, vocational, life and entrepreneurial skills, and also apprenticeship. It has 3 tracks: Hardware training; Software Training and Creative (Animation and Script Writing). The first 3-month training component is delivered at 6 selected locations, one in each geo-political zone, to be followed by a six-month internship in the respective States of residence of the trainees.
“The N-Power Volunteer (Graduates) are entitled to a monthly stipend of N30,000 for a period of one year. The Non-graduate beneficiaries are entitled to N10,000 monthly stipends for a period of 9 months. All beneficiaries are granted an appropriate starter pack for their trade to enable them to start their businesses in their chosen trades.
“The N-Power programme deployed an online application and selection strategy to ensures fairness, transparency and credibility in the recruitment process. The programme commenced in the Office of the Vice President back in June 2016 when the application portal was first opened. Over 750,000 applications were received, out of which, 200,000 beneficiaries were screened and selected into the first batch called Batch A. The portal was opened again in June 2017 where over 2.5 million applications were received, from which another 300,000 volunteers were selected into the programme as Batch B.”
She applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for his administration’s unwavering efforts in eradicating poverty in Nigeria and for supporting and sustaining the National Social Investment Programme.
The Minister also applauded the National Assembly members for appropriating funds to execute these programmes and also their oversight in ensuring the programmes are implemented as approved.
Other stakeholders who spoke during the launch, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kalloon pledged support for job creation for Nigerian youths and vulnerable groups.
Mr Kalloon who described the official launch of the On-boarding of the N-Power Batch C Stream 1, as another milestone manifestation of the policy of the Government to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030, commended the Ministry for mobilizing targeted transfer and livelihood support to the extremely poor and vulnerable households across Nigeria including its effort to facilitate the N-Power programme for Nigerian youth.
“This generation of young people is the largest cohort in history with an unprecedented 1.8 billion young people worldwide. As a group they also face an unprecedented set of upcoming challenges with megatrends like climate change, biodiversity loss, growing inequalities, and the fourth industrial revolution, bearing down on their futures.
“On top of these imminent issues came the global pandemic at the beginning of 2020. No generation has suffered more from lost opportunities and disruptions over the past year than young people. COVID-19 has placed yet another major hurdle in front of today’s youth as they endeavour to fulfil their potential. Even before the pandemic, more than one in five young people globally were not in employment, education or training. Many in this generation are at risk of being left behind. This is a crisis within a crisis.
“Given that Nigeria has one of the largest populations of young people in the world, these concerns are all the more pressing in this nation. With 65.6 million citizens between the ages of 10 and 24, young people are one-third of Nigeria’s population but 100% of its future. However, this youth dividend is not guaranteed. Its potential must be cultivated and encouraged and developed. Never has this support been more necessary because COVID-19 has interrupted the education and employment of so many Nigerian youths,” he said.