Guaranty Trust Bank yesterday launched its “focus on graduates” project at its headquarters in Freetown to provide start-up capital and job opportunity for deserving graduates effective December this year.
The Managing Director of the bank, Akinola George-Taylor said his organization had deemed it necessary to initiate such a project for deserving graduates because they had enjoyed substantial co-operation and benefit within the community.
He said such corporation would be reciprocated by motivating students through awards and employment-creation in the spirit of national development.
He went on to say that the award would forge links with Fourah Bay College, IPAM and Njala University, with special focus on students offering a degree in accounting and financial services.
The bank will also make a Le 10 Million annual donation to each of the beneficiary colleges for rehabilitation projects proposed by each of them.
“70% of unemployment in Sierra Leone is not because of non-qualified graduates but because of the trend of things” he said.
Each of the universities, he explained, would nominate its best six students for a test and an interview, and the first two male and female students would be awarded each $ 1,750 in cash.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone, Professor Aiah A. Gbakima commended the Board of Directors and staff of the Guaranty Trust Bank for “such a noble initiative”, noting that the project would help graduates to pursue opportunities in the banking sector by affording them a solid work experience.
He said those students who would be nominated would be critically scrutinized to get the best products so that they could adequately reflect the University and their respective families.
He urged students to be industrious, honest and committed, warning that any student who fell below expectation, the university deserved the right to withdraw their certificate. He maintained that the Bank had demonstrated its commitment to contribute to the economic and human development and improve the welfare of the community. “It is indeed encouraging to see a business entity diverting some of its resources to the development of such a very important arm of the human resource pool in the country” he concluded.
Before officially launching the project, one of the Directors at the Bank Ned Walters said the university should always operate in collaboration with industries to motivate students to work hard. He expressed the optimism that such gesture would be embraced and sustained.
By Solomon Rogers