Attitude of Graduate Youths Towards Agro-allied Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development Programme in Oyo State
The paper investigated the agro-allied aspect of the Skill and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme of the National Youth Service Corps in Oyo State. Specifically, the study examined the personal characteristics of the corps members, determined the attitude of the corps members to agro-allied activities of the SAED and identified challenges facing corps members in executing the agro-allied activities. Pre-tested questionnaire was used to elicit information from 100% of the SAED participants which gave a total of 82 graduate youths. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The majority (67.1%) of the youths were female. More than half (54.9%) of the youths were in the age category of 24-26 with more than 62.7% having Bachelor of Science/Technology degree. Only 17.1% of the youths had a degree in agriculture. Majority (79.3%) of the youths were into livestock production and 20.7% chose agricultural engineering. Financial independency and ability to manage resources (67.6%), ability to innovate and inspire other youths (12.0%) were the major motivations of youth. The majority (64.0%)of the corps members are favourably disposed towards the programme. Challenges to entrepreneurship were poor supervision of the programme by National Youth Service Corps officials ( x̄ =1.89), lack of sufficient facilities for training (x̄ =1.85),inconsistence government policies (x̄ =1.84), incompetence of some of the facilitators ( x̄ =1.74) and lack of motivational support by government and other stakeholders (x̄ =1.73). Sex (χ2 =21.07), educational qualification (χ2 =7.47), and marital status (χ2 =5.72) had significant association with attitude. Youth attitude and benefits derived from SAED programme were found to be significant (r=0.38). For further involvement and positive attitude of graduate youths to agro-allied skill set of SAED, financial assistance, supervision, monitoring and psychological motivation should be improved upon by stakeholders and government during and after the youths service year so as to encourage more graduate youths to take up agriculture and agribusiness as a profession and means of livelihood. Engaging graduate youth in agriculture and retaining them in the sector is a strategy that could both contribute to increasing agricultural productivity and address youth unemployment.
Keywords: Entrepreneurship Development, Graduates Youth, Attitude and Employment.