British Council's INNOVATION 360 Graduate Programme

The competition, Innovation 360 degrees, is targeted at young Nigerians who are university graduates. The process will be online and the final five winners get a full master's degree scholarship to a university in the United Kingdom.

"The competition is designed for exceptional people," said Omotola Oyebanjo, Communications Team Leader of the Council. "We are looking for young Nigerians who can take advantage of their intelligence and win scholarships to the UK. Every two weeks, we will put a task online and in the newspapers, and ask young Nigerians to solve them." Starting from September 14, and running through November 21, the programme will list out specific tasks for contestants to solve. Any candidate, who succeeds in solving a task, at any time during the programme, is deemed to qualify for the final draw which entails an interview with a panel of judges. The competition is open to anyone who holds a university degree.

Tomi Soyinka, the Business Partnership Manager of British Council, explained that the tasks are expected to involve current socio-economic trends in Nigeria. "The tasks might include solutions to problems we have in Nigeria now," she said.

"We are looking for creative minds, people that can think outside the box; so the tasks will centre on that.The final interview will be done before a panel which comprises influential Nigerians who studied in the UK and are back in Nigeria making impacts in their various professions," said Mrs Oyebanjo.

"Immediately I heard about it, I started my preparation because I don't want to miss that opportunity," said Daniel Egu, a 2007 unemployed graduate of Sociology. "Since one has not been able to land a job in this country, maybe God might use this opportunity to release one from this bondage." A few metres down Mr Egu's street, the news and excitement continued to spread like an epidemic, even among the employed.

"I am also looking forward to it," said Bolade Adeniran, a marketer in an insurance company. "I have always desired to improve my education, and qualifications, so I think that is a good opportunity to try. Of course, I know it will be tough, but I will put in my best. This country is frustrating, the opportunity of leaving it is not a chance to play with." Mrs Oyebanjo is, however, quick to disillusion those who might see the opportunity as an avenue to migrate to the UK. "One of the things we are insisting on is that the winners will come back after their studies in the UK and contribute to national development," she said.

The British Council is a non political organisation set up by the UK for purposes of sustaining cultural relations with host countries. The Council, which operates in 109 countries, was founded in 1934. Its Nigerian office opened in 1945, and offices are located in Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Jos and Enugu.

Other programmes outlined for the anniversary celebrations include a photography contest and an environmental walk, both scheduled for November.

This info. was gotten from


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