Academic journal article Public Administration Research

Promoting Youth Employment in Benue State, Nigeria: A Study of Open Apprenticeship Scheme of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE)

Academic journal article Public Administration Research

Promoting Youth Employment in Benue State, Nigeria: A Study of Open Apprenticeship Scheme of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE)

Article excerpt

Abstract

Youth unemployment has remained one of the present and steady social problems that characterise Nigeria as a developing economy. Measures to address this social problem have featured prominently in the development agenda of successive governments. However, the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), established by the Babangida Administration in 1986, comes across as a consistent public policy on employment and wealth creation that has managed to endure over the years. Since its establishment, a number of schemes have been designed and implemented under the directorate to combat youth unemployment. One of such schemes is the National Open Apprenticeship Scheme (NOAS). This study was undertaken to interrogate the implementation of the scheme in Benue State located in the North Central geographical zone of Nigeria. Within the framework of the neo-classical model of economic thought, these programmes of action are understood as a deliberate policy intervention by government to correct distortions in resource allocation occasioned by the laissez-faire market mechanism. The study employed both analytical and empirical approaches. Whereas the former reflects on state of the research in existing literature, the latter utilized survey research to probe into the implementation of NOAS. Findings reveal that NDE skills development programmes in Benue State is an initiative that can address youth unemployment. However, the objective of enhancing job opportunities through the skills acquisition of NAOS leaves much to be desired. The study recommends among others that; funding of NDE should be improved upon, the scope of NAOS should be expanded to accommodate graduates of tertiary institutions, and the general policy framework on education be reviewed to create a synergy between the formal school system and the job market in Benue State and by extension, Nigeria.

Keywords: employment, labour market, policy, skills development, youth

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

Youth unemployment has remained a disturbing phenomenon that threatens socio-economic progress in sub-Saharan Africa. For a sub-region that is already enmeshed in widespread poverty, the inability of the vast majority of the youth to give full vent to their potentials in the form of gainful employment, paints a gloomy picture of the sub-regional economy. Nigeria, the supposed giant of the region and the most populous in the continent, represents a typical example of this social plague. With a population of about one hundred and fifty million, Nigeria is blessed as the 6th largest producer of crude oil in the world coupled with other capital assets like vast arable land, a variety of mineral resources and human potentials. In spite of these capital endowments, majority of her youth are idle, with nothing to engage their time and energy.

Although, economists from earliest time have articulated theoretical paradigms that provide a framework for diagnosis, prescriptions and prognosis, addressing the problem of unemployment has remained an engaging social issue among public policy experts and practitioners in government. For example, the classical school of economic thought provided a wealth of knowledge on the potency of the free market in optimum resource allocation to stimulate production, employment and socio-economic development. Much of its contribution to knowledge lies in its extensive criticism of government regulation of economic activities. The school argues that government policies should give way to the natural liberty of economic production and trade, and that private property is a sanctified right as a consequence of human labour (Husaini, 2004). However, the Keynesian revolution of the 1930s, which commandeered the explosive attack on economic orthodoxy, apparently treated employment as the central focus of its thesis. This was consequent upon the failure of macro-economic system following the great depression. …

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