After attending a month’s orientation in regional NYSC camps, the Corpers can be sent anywhere in the country to their ‘Place of Primary Assignment’ (PPA) which could be in a school, local government, NGO or other organisation (including Fantsuam!). It is not at all uncommon for a Lagos city boy to be posted to a rural backwater like Kafanchan, or indeed even further into the bush.
I had been invited to speak to the group about “Marketing yourself: How to create a results-oriented CV” by Corper Akin – King Corper of the Kafanchan area (I think the official title is Corpers Liaison Officer, but I think King Corper sounds better). Akin is also a Fantsuam volunteer and friend. I feel a particular connection with Akin as, when he’s not being a Corper or a graduate student, he’s helping run his father’s Lagos print packaging factory (I think all my readers will be aware – but for those that aren’t – my entire career prior to VSO has been spent in the printing industry).
In addition to Corpers’ primary assignments they are also encouraged to take on volunteer projects in their communities, in line with the Millennium Development Goals. However the motivation of Corpers to undertake both their compulsory and voluntary roles varies greatly: after I had delivered my 15 minute ‘lecture’ which featured a section on how to best describe ‘work experience’, one cocky Corper stood up and asked how they were expected to include work experience in their CVs when they’d spent four years at university and one doing Youth Service.
“a one-year volunteering programme, which gives young people the opportunity to give back to the society and contribute to raising the standard of education in Nigeria. Volunteering on Corper Plus requires you to provide selfless service without monetary gain or financial incentives. This programme harnesses the energy and enthusiasm of exceptional graduates to provide leadership and motivation to students in schools and at the same time it transforms those graduates into inspiring leaders ready to excel in their future careers.”
The requirements to qualify are not easy though: it’s not for every Corper that finds themself out of a job. Selection for Corper Plus is based entirely on your ability to demonstrate a high degree of proficiency in the following competencies and qualities:
• Values diversity and respects opinions of others.
• Humility, Respect and Empathy
• Flexibility, Resilience, Knowledge and Leadership
• Planning, Organising, Problem solving and Self-evaluation