iLEAD Programme

Equipping youth with work readiness skills and enabling successful transition post-secondary education. iLEAD is a 3-year trifecta programme with the ultimate beneficiary being senior secondary students from underserved public schools.

Students are equipped with the skills and tools to transition to higher education, gain paid employment or start businesses, while contributing to community and national development.

We empower enablers such as teachers and recent graduates to aid sustainability and promote near-peer influence for the students. The programme is an experiential project-based training on leadership, life, employability and entrepreneurship skills; digital and technical skills; internships and change projects implementation.

Why address youth skills development and transitions in Nigeria?

Secondary school is becoming increasingly recognized as a transition point into work, partly because of the stark reality of the limited places in institutions of higher education. In 2021, only 551,553 students out of 1,351,215 secondary school graduates were admitted into higher institutions.

According to NBS 2020 Q4 report, 73.2% of young people in Nigeria were unemployed or underemployed. There are limited employment opportunities; it has been postulated that about 40 to 50 million jobs would be needed to address unemployment (a large percentage of who are young people) between 2010 to 2030 in Nigeria.

The World Economic Forum Report 2017 identifies that for the growing youth population in Africa to spur the economic growth of the continent, a number of issues that must be resolved includes increasing access to education and skill training, expanding job possibilities, encouraging entrepreneurship, and tackling the digital gap that exists in many regions of the continent.

Programme Components


Students are enrolled in a 3-year programme programme in SS 2, and 1 year post-school, and are jointly mentored by teachers and fellows. Students are trained on life, leadership, employability and entrepreneurship skills, and are prepared for academic and post-secondary success.​
In 3 years, students curriculum are focus on 5 core areas:

Self-leadership skills such as setting goals, developing a values system, personal financial management, creativity; and skills for leading others, and implementing community change projects.

Transferable skills to access decent work and succeed on the job via an internship programme.
The fundamentals of starting a business including identifying business opportunities and creating business plans, and practicalizing lessons by working on business projects.
The foundations of Digital literacy and technical skills in their areas of interest.
Skills to enable them create and follow short and medium-term personal success plans post-secondary school.
Students’ Testimonials


Fellows are recent graduates from tertiary institutions with a passion and commitment to social impact with proven commitment to leading or supporting social change interventions in their communities. They are recruited from the National Youth Service Scheme​.

The fellowship year components include: 

Fellows will be trained on pedagogy and classroom management, leadership, mentoring and facilitation skills.

Fellows will be required to train other members of the National Youth Service Corps on the leadership, life, employability and entrepreneurship skills they develop during the fellowship.

Fellows will be paired with mentors – entrepreneurs or professionals – for six months in-line with their professional or business goals.

Employability & Entrepreneurship Training Fellows will go through trainings aimed at increasing their commercial awareness and helping them develop work-readiness skills, knowledge and tools needed to thrive on their jobs.

Fellows will be supported in varied ways that best suit their interests i.e. Internships (one-month internship in organisations in high growth sectors), professional development/technical skills training or business accelerator programmes.

Fellows who complete the programme will be inducted into LEAP Africa’s Alumni Network (LAAN) through which they will be provided access to opportunities and training.

Fellows’ Testimonials 


Select teachers are enrolled in a 3-year programme, and are trained on pedagogy, classroom management, leadership, employability, digital, entrepreneurship and life skills. They are supported to serve as mentors to the iLEAD students, and are required to cascade learning to other teachers through a physical community of practice.​

The programme components for teachers include: 

Training for teachers on classroom management, transformative leadership and mentorship.

A school-based platform where all trained teachers are able to connect with one another, provide support and also access shared opportunities, and resources by the LEAP team.

Teachers will participate in the curriculum delivery sessions in collaboration with the iLEAD fellows.

Trained teachers will be encouraged to serve as mentors to other teachers, sharing lessons from the leadership and education management training.

The programme components for teachers includes

Success Stories

Leap Africa 1

Meet Emem, a 20 year old Employer

Emem graduated from the iLEAD programme in 2020 and is yet to secure admission into higher institution. However, while in secondary school, he started a business of selling customised groundnuts and zobo, and he generated enough money to employ some of his colleagues.

While running his business, he had always been interested in computer programming, hence upon graduation from secondary school, his business had generated sufficient funds to purchase a laptop and data subscription that allowed him to download tutorial videos on programming.

In 2021, he observed that he could pay for services using his debit card online and spotted some gaps in logistics and payments online, hence picking an interest in building a financial application. After a couple of failures, he created the Etegram application. Etegram is a financial solution application that allows people and businesses to transact funds and can be used as a one-commerce website to collect payments.

In Emem’s words, he said, “When I started Etegram, everyone didn’t believe I could build a PayPal for Africa. After months of working on this solution, I convinced different commerce website owners to start receiving instant payments from their websites in seconds. Today, we are simplifying payments in Africa”.

At present, Emem has employed 6 of his colleagues from secondary school.

LEAP Africa iLead 6

Whiskey Orevaoghene, Winner of InterswitchSPAK National Science Competition 4.0

Oreva is a student of Top Faith Schools, and she participated in the iLEAD programme in 2021/2022. Currently in SS3, she participated in the InterswitchSPAK National Science Competition, and she emerged winner of the competition which earned her a 5-year University Scholarship worth N7.5 Million with a brand-new laptop and monthly stipend.

Our Impact

Since 2017, LEAP Africa has worked with critical stakeholders in government, public and private sector, and across communities in enabling youth transitions into paid employment, entrepreneurship and higher education.
States in Nigeria. Lagos, Abuja, and Akwa Ibom​
Schools selected for programme implementation​
Students reached in the programme​
Teachers trained and supported as mentors​
Young graduates from NYSC trained and supported as iLEAD fellows​
Community change projects were implemented by students​
Indirect reach through community change projects.​
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An 18 months post-programme survey showed successful transitions for students and fellows
of students post-secondary school found and maintained paid employment​
0 %
of students were enrolled in higher education​
0 %
of students were acquiring technical/vocational skills​
0 %
of fellows secured their first jobs in less than 6 months post fellowship programme.
0 %

iLEAD Programme in Pictures

We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone

Our Partners