The Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Pharmacist Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf has disclosed that the State government is about to extend the duration of its Internship Programme for graduates to six months as a way of expanding the practical knowledge of participants and increase their chances of gainful employment.

The Commissioner, who disclosed this on Tuesday during a Breakfast Roundtable meeting on Graduate Internship Programme with off-takers and stakeholders, informed that special attention would be paid to the maritime sector this year through the use of necessary technologies that would meet the job needs of the sector.

She explained that the Graduate Internship Programme, GIP, was one of the several initiatives developed by the Ministry to achieve its mandate of reducing unemployment in the State.

According to the Commissioner, the Ministry was working to bridge identified gaps militating against the gainful employment of graduates, noting that “We are addressing the issue of employability skills, the mismatch between demand for labour and the ability of applicants, lack of information on job existence, outdated school curricular among others”.

“To address these gaps, the State government in collaboration with its development partners such as the Employment Clinic International is exposing interns to particular jobs, professions or industry relevant to their chosen fields of endeavour, providing opportunities for network contacts, strengthening professional skills and interpersonal relationships in structured settings”, Akinbile stated.

She added that the initiative was responsible for the opportunities given to a number of graduates across the State last year where interns acquired relevant working experience that gave them an edge over their contemporaries who did not participate in the scheme.

Akinbile-Yussuf averred that the decision to extend the training or internship duration from its initial three months to six months was due to the positive feedback received from last year’s exercise, saying that the programme will now include one month for training and induction, and five months for the internship with the employers.

“The successes recorded last year by the Ministry in the area of employment generation for participants of the initiative serves as an impetus for the State government to continue its collaboration with the private sector in this regard”, the Commissioner reiterated.

She expressed the hope that the unflinching support which the Ministry had enjoyed from its numerous partners who served as off-takers would continue and even attract new off-takers to come on board, such that the issue of unemployment would become a thing of the past in the State.

Also speaking at the event, Ronke Kosoko of Employment Clinic tasked government to meet up with the demands of the private sector by eliminating unnecessary bureaucracies and invest more in the development of entrepreneurial skills.

She maintained that if the gap between the employed and unemployed is not bridged as a matter of policy from government, the aftermath would be very devastating on the entire populace.

Kosoko said that the partnership between government and the private sector should be seen as a value chain that must be well synchronized for the benefit of harnessing areas of common interest.

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