Mayowa Daramola: How to maximize your NYSC Year

Nigeria Social Cohesion Survey – Port Harcourt Dissemination Workshop
November 7, 2019
ATTEND: DevFest Port Harcourt 2019
November 14, 2019


Hello, thanks for being a part of this journey! It’s going to be an easy ride. All I’m sharing are just tips derived from a database of experience and outsourced statistics.

I had my NYSC year 3 years ago and I was lucky to squeeze the best I could and afterward, I realized the scheme has a major problem. While we await the government to fix the problems we can better manage our lives within this one year period.

The scheme was originally introduced in 1973 to rebuild, reconcile, reconstruct Nigeria after the civil war, and to promote National unity.

It was copied from the UK by Gen. Yakubu Gowon and the UK has since stopped the scheme.

Is NYSC important?

Yes it is

  1. Unfortunately in this part of the world, it is a proof of your graduation, sometimes it doesn’t even matter if you made a first-class, if you’ve not worn khaki you’re not a graduate.
  2. It is the second most important qualification to get a job in Nigeria after your ability to deliver on the job has been tested.
  3. For every public office holder it is a must-have, if the experience of Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, the former finance minister is anything to go by.

That being said, having a discharge certificate is not a guarantee to succeed in life, there are a few reasons why it may not be important to you;

  1. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you don’t need a discharge certificate from NYSC to start a business.
  2. The office of the Governor, the presidency and state house of legislative only need a minimum O level result to contest in an elective position (That is if your opposition party doesn’t dig you up too much).
  3. If you’re not a Nigerian, without a discharge certificate from NYSC, you can get a proper job in Nigeria (so this makes it look like the scheme is a witch Hunt for only NIGERIANS). Even if your school abroad, and you’re a Nigerian it’s a process you must go through.
  4. If you’re above 30.

It will interest you to know that; The F.G. spends 70Billion Naira on the scheme annually. And more annoyingly that, the scheme is compulsory to youths below 30 and according to NBS, 60% of youths below this age are unemployable and unemployed.

If these statistics are anything to go by, then the purpose of the scheme should be to educate participants to be self-employed right???

Now, I guess that’s why we have the SAED which is a training/series of classes done during the service year.

SAED (SKILL ACQUISITION and ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT) was created in 2012 to enable successful participants to gain knowledgeable SKILLS to make them employable and self-employed. Skills such as:

  • Agro-Allied (agriculture)
  • Automobile (mechanic)
  • Beautification
  • Construction
  • Cosmetology
  • Culture and tourism
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Film and photography
  • Food processing and preservation
  • ICT
  • Power and energy

It will interest you to know that NONE of these trainings or courses will put you on the same level as your peers around the world!

Not forgetting the fact that some or almost all these courses are what you already did in your 4/5/6 years in school.

Now, see what W.E.F (World Economic Forum) thinks you should know to wrestle with the world (this was drawn from their database and statistical analysis).

Top Skills of the future:

  • People management
  • Complex problem solving
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Critical thinking

Meet the Ponzi Schemers


This should be put into consideration, for those who intend to volunteer, ensure that they meet your needs in any of these areas.

Here’s the problem, your 4 years in school or more plus your one-year NYSC (I’ve not added the period of waiting for the call up letter ooh) is most likely a waste if all you’re going to school for is to get a job!

If that’s your aim, have it in mind that you’re about to continue a rat race.

Now, 89% of Corp members are posted to a school to teach!

At the end of your one year, you have one year of experience in teaching. My question is, do you intend to be a teacher?? I guess not.

The SAED classes you attended or will attend, which one are you practicing or which one has earned you a dime?

We’re getting to the crux of the matter.

Imagine you love Radio and TV, and you served in a Radio station if you started as an intern immediately after your project defense.

By the time you’re done with NYSC, you’ll have 2 years’ experience in MEDIA!

Media is just an example as this is applicable in any industry or field of career. 

How can you squeeze the best out of your one year?

What is your course of study?

What are you passionate about?

Find an organization relevant to you, start as an intern if you haven’t started your NYSC, if you have, look for an organization and apply, oftentimes they can request that you be posted to their organization.

By the time you’re done, you now have 1year experience in your area of interest and not where NYSC took you.

The reason we fail to follow what we’re passionate about most times is that we’re uncertain and we know we won’t make money from it at the get-go.

Now, within your one year period, you have your allowee, which serves as an upkeep for you while you test your passion, at the end of the day, you can be certain if this is really what you want to do with your life, cause trust me, the reality is always different when you have not tested a career path.

If it’s your area of interest and passion, you stand a higher chance of being retained as a staff after your service year, as your input would obviously stand out.

Finally, this isn’t honestly a period to fall in love but to network, people don’t look like what they’d become, it’s too early to tell who looks like they’d succeed.

Don’t judge people based on their perceived potentials, potentials are never a guarantee to success. Meet people, volunteer to help with a project either with an NGO or individual. Try out those projects you’ve always thought about, you have a pool of opportunities at your fingertips.

Note: As per finding an organization, check Google, which ones are in your locality and are important to you, ask questions, don’t be afraid to walk into any organization to ask questions.

Don’t wait till you get out, do it as soon as possible, one year is no joke. As a Nigerian, you are already disadvantaged in comparison to citizens of other growing countries.


Download a PDF version of this guide by Mayowa below


Discretionary Income in Nigeria


Image Credit: Guardian Nigeria

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