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

Jeremiah Tersur Vambe, Abdulhamid Ozohu-Suleiman


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.

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