BY IKENNA ASOMBA
Following the disclosure by the management of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to incorporate new skills acquisition training programme into the 2012 Batch ‘A’ orientation course, mixed reactions from corps members have continued to trail the move.
Even though sources from the NYSC affirmed that the move was to prepare corps members against the challenges of securing paid jobs, which is in furtherance of the Federal Government’s job creation agenda for unemployed graduates in the country, some corps members who spoke to Quadlife lauded the initiative, even as others flayed it.
According to Olamilekan Hassan, a Batch A corps member serving in Abia State, the programme may be laudable to some, but he sees it as a mere ‘window dressing’.
Speaking further, Hassan said he lost faith in the initiative when the Central Bank team stormed his orientation camp in Abia State informing them that after the skill acquisition scheme, they had to apply for loans to start up their businesses.
“It is the bureaucratic processes involved in acquiring this loan that I am against, not the initiative itself. How can they say you must have a collateral or a letter of guarantor from the statec co-ordinator who barely knows you before you can access such. I therefore urge the government to make the loan acquisition more accessible to avoid the scheme trailing the path of its usual jamboree style.”
For Abiodun Alade, a Batch C corps member serving in Akwa-Ibom State, even though the move was long over-due, the initiative is laudable.
“The skill acquisition initiative, if properly implemented, will go a long way in making corps members employers of labour and also create wealth for the country in the long run. Unemployment and crime rates will also reduce.”
On his part, Segun Padonu, another Batch C corps member serving in Lagos State, expressed regret that the skill acquisition initiative was not introduced for his set.
“I would have loved to engage in one of the vocational skills, so that immediately I finish the scheme, I don’t need to be roaming the streets of Lagos, in search of white collar jobs that are not there, but to invest in the training I have gotten from camp.”
Amidst these reactions, Ugochukwu Azubuike, a motivational speaker, currently running his Ph.D at Cambridge University, and Mr. David Olaluwoye, a Technical Officer at the Broadcasting Studio of the Lagos State University- Adebola Adegunwa School of Communication (LASU-AASOC), Surulere, while speaking to students of the school in separate specialization sensitization workshops, are of the view that introducing this skills acquisition programme into the NYSC scheme is laudable but belated.
For them, this initiative should be introduced into the academic curricula of tertiary institutions in the country.
According to Azubuike, students in tertiary institutions should not wait till they graduate before engaging themselves in one vocational skill or the other.
“There are a lot of skills students can acquire as undergraduates because the white collar jobs most of them long for are not readily available in the country. Students can develop writing skills, dramatic skills, technical skills and a host of others to help balance their academic careers, while making livelihood out of them when they are churned out into the labour market.”
Similarly, Olaluwoye opined that the call for students to identify a vocational skill they can acquire experience from, while studying became necessary as the Nigerian labour market is filled with unemployed graduates who lack specialized vocational skills.