The Federal Government, through the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, has opened an internship centre which will connect more than 5000 unemployed graduates with private companies.
Our correspondent learnt that the centre, Smart Jobs, will train the graduates on business management and skills-based ventures as well as provide them with some start-off capital.
The Director-General of the National Institute, Mrs Chika Balogun, while opening the Smart Jobs centre on Monday, said the government was willing to partner notable private businesses to absorb a large population of Nigerian graduates and unemployed youths.
Balogun said the private sector was significant in the country, because only four million youths could be employed in the available spaces in the civil and public service.
The DG said the Federal Government would encourage graduates willing to go into entrepreneurship and skill-based ventures by providing them with trainings and start-off capital.
She said, “In Nigeria, we are talking about 100 million youths, of which many are extremely creative and are university graduates. The government can employ about three or four million across all states. The reality is that it is the private sector that can drive the economy.
“But we are all realising that our dependence on papers is no longer the way. Nigeria must be skills-based. Ours is one of the youngest populations in the world. It will be a shame if the public and the private sectors do not work cohesively.
“We want to start this training and empowerment for youths in Abuja and expand it gradually across the country. There is going to be a huge turnover of youths and people that are going to be trained.
“The Smart Jobs centre is aimed at providing employment for the youths. It is not about government employment; we want to create entrepreneurs. We want youths to be self-employed. Only entrepreneurs will be able to drive our economy.
“We are going to give take-off grants to those who finish the training and skills’ acquisition at the centre. This is why the Federal Government is encouraging youths to be entrepreneurs.”