Crafting a Future Through Graduate Internship: Sani’s 4G Wireless Network Dream
In line with the aspirations of the graduate internship scheme, beautiful flowers are blooming among graduate interns all over the country, with many interns being securely employed while many others carving their own niche in private business. This has proven that interventions meant to achieve quick wins and that are efficiently managed are bound to succeed.
The pilot scheme, which is targeted at just 50,000 of the multitude of the unemployed in Nigeria, has proven that with efficient management, every unemployed graduate has an opportunity to learn both hard and soft skills required in every work place. They have a chance to live a life with the little stipend they take home every month, helping them to manage scarce resources, and live on their own without having to live off their parents. This serves a psychological and emotional need in every individual, especially those that have left school and are still under their parents roof.
Dignity of labour, knowing that pay is earned, the value attached to time and its relation to the achievement of work objectives, the value of keeping and managing official secrets as well as work ethics all contribute to building a better person through internship. With internship, some graduates get a feel of management, having been directed to manage beats when their mentors are off; they get to see the challenges of managing personnel and resources and even information, they face these challenges and come out the other side stronger and more fortified to face more daunting challenges.
During Internship, friendships are established, friendships that may endure and even transform into networks for business and cooperation. These networks have resulted into cooperative societies in many states, which have grown into small scale businesses. These businesses, starting with meager savings from members have the potential to grow into conglomerates, employing thousands. Yet other interns have gone solo.
One solo project that GIS is proud of is in Gusau, Zamfara state, where an intern, whose area of study was marketing was deployed to ICT by his employers, Hoe Farmers, Ltd. In the tradition of GIS, registered graduates are required to indicate sectors and sub sectors where they wish to work, not necessarily tied to their area of study. As the firm has secured a contract with the state government to map 450,000 farming families across the state, he had the task of managing the data generated by this study. He eventually developed a software to do this, and as he progressed, made many other innovations that eased the work and hastened delivery period for the firm.
He had witnessed the poor quality of network as provided by internet service providers in the state, especially the capital because of his frequent cyber-forays and eventually came to the realization that someone had to do something about it, and that someone should be him. He developed a business plan and fine-tuned it with the help of his employers, who suggested that he requested funding from another special intervention of government, YouWIN. He eventually won a 10 million Naira grant to establish this business, which is targeted at providing a 4G wireless telecommunication network service in Gusau township.
The service, which is the best among states of the old Sokoto state (Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi), is meant to cover a 6 – kilometer radius in Gusau to provide an efficient wireless network service to businesses, schools and other establishments as well as individual users at a price commensurate with user requirement, in other words, cheaply efficient. The service has the capacity to run for 21 hours on alternative energy and uses fibre-network, rather than VSAT.
The spirit of starting small, coupled with the background of the intern, struggling through school, energized the low rates charged for the service, mostly so that students can afford it and they can use the internet to develop themselves and be part of the cyber community. The project will surely open the portal that will allow Zamfara state to be part of the knowledge society.
Beyond this service, the company also provides web design and hosting, program software and technical consultancy. It also boasts the best internet café in Gusau township, with initial 6 containerized cyber cafes spread in key areas of the city, each equipped with 20 computers. The firm also provides ICT training.
Speaking at the launch, the Project Director, Graduate Internship Scheme, Mr. Peter Papka was full of praises for both the employer, MD Hoe Farmers, Hon. Abdulkadir Nasir who provided mentorship, training and the enabling environment for the intern to grow and excel. 75 of the interns were employed by the state government and two have won You WIN grants. GIS indebted to this quality of mentorship.
For the intern, Ahmed Sani Ibrahim (GI-ZAM-MAD-0003), the MD of Ansar Technology, he has proven that if an intern takes his destiny into his own hands, he is sure to excel. For providing cheap and accessible internet service, he has linked Zamfara to the world and would be recognized not only at home but abroad. Mr. Papka called on other interns to use Ahmed as an example in their lives.
On his part, the MD of Hoe Farmers, Hon. Nasir, commended Ahmed for being a unique intern who had a drive to succeed and acknowledged GIS and YouWIN for providing the platform and funding to actualize the dream of the intern.
Ahmed Sani Ibrahim commended his employers, the Federal Government and his first set of customers. He commended GIS for the mentorship and the support he has received.