February 23, 2018 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The National Youth Commission (NAYCOM), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), yesterday, Wednesday, February 22nd ,certified one hundred and thirty -two youth who have completed the Graduate Internship Progremme (GIP).
The commission also launched the 2018 programme.
Speaking at the certification and launching ceremony, Board Chairman of the National Youth Commission, Umar Farouk Sesay, who also doubles as the chairman of event, thanked the management of NAYCOM for a job well done and for being able to convince the UNDP for more funds to support the internship programme.
He also thanked the internship graduates for comporting themselves during the internship programme.
He used the occasion to caution youth not to involve in any act of violence that would hamper the hard earned peace of the nation.
He noted that though people have right to vote but that they should also know that they also have the responsibility to respect law enforcement authorities and maintain peace in the land.
Director, Youth Village, Dr. Serry Kamara, said he believed that the programme was a good initiative in the sense that youth of the country have employment problem, and that statistics has shown that 36% of the country’s population constitute youth.
He further that 70% of the above youth percentage are unemployed -which means seven out of ten youth are unemployed, and according to him, such situation constitutes a time-bomb for the nation.
He said other parts of the world have unemployment problem but the problem of Sierra Leone was peculiar, and that the Graduate Internship Programme was very necessary in the country.
He said what the country needed was to provide what he referred to as employability skills, so that graduates could be able to meet the job markets in the country and even across the world.
Deputy Commissioner of the National Youth Commission, Aminata Sillah-Bangura, said the objective of the extended internship programme was to increase the number of young people benefitting from productive internship opportunities nationwide.
She said the programme has increased the overall quality of the internship experience, so as to actually contribute to the employability of the interns and to the maximization of both the social and private return of the initiative and ensure equal opportunities to access merit- based internship positions.
She said the GIP is an internship scheme first piloted in 2012, with the aim of deserving tertiary graduates, adding that the internship experience was meant to be beneficial to both employers and interns.
Commissioner of NAYCOM, Anthony A. Koroma, said the Graduate Internship Programme was working experience gaining programme implemented by the commission, together with UNDP.
He disclosed that they have also developed the National Youth Services.
He said they hope that with support from their partners, they would be able to input the National Youth service fully, so that they move beyond the Graduate Internship Programme.
He further expressed hope that this year, they would put together a framework for the GIP with a national policy for both government and private sectors to be taking interns on holiday period and graduate interns for permanent jobs.
In his keynote address, Country Director of UNDP, Samuel Doe, said the event was yet another important stride in positioning the youth in their rightful place for the development of Sierra Leone- as matters of youth continue to be a priority of the government of Sierra Leone’s development agenda and the Agenda of the United Nations.
He said the programme was facilitated through the formulation of the Young Employment and Empowerment Programme (YEEP) in 2011 and its implementation to date.
He said YEEP was one of the foremost youth development programmes implemented in Sierra Leone, geared specifically at empowering the youth sector to participate effectively in national development processes and programmes.
He further that it was designed to strengthen national policy, strategy and coordination frameworks for youth development established on a national basis, basic support services for youth including business development support and youth career advice- all geared towards increasing their employability.
He said YEEP was part of the UNDP’s package designed to assist the government of Sierra Leone to target development investments to the youth sector as a strategy to achieving the MGDs and now the SDGs.
He said YEEP consist mainly of the implementation of the business development services (BDS), Career Advisory and Placement Services (CAPS), Agribusiness and the Graduate Internship Programme (GIP).
He said the GIP was aimed at bolstering the employability of young university or college graduates to increase the number of young people benefiting from productive internship opportunities nationwide.
He congratulated graduates on their key achievements and wished them well in their endeavours, thus encouraging them to establish networks with potential employers, attend their social and corporate events where possible, write blogs and market their skills, build a well constructive LinkedIn profile.
He thanked the National Youth Commission and the Ministry of Youth Affairs for making key contributions in transforming the livelihood and employment status of youth in Sierra Leone, especially to the graduate internship programme.
He said the UNDP will continue to re-echo their commitment to support the government and state bodies in the promotion of youth development in the country ,and that they would also continue to support pre-and post-election peace- building initiatives.