Dangote Petroleum Refinery & Petrochemicals Company yesterday flagged off a vocational training scheme that will inculcate necessary skills in the young men and women from the Ibeju-Lekki area of its operation to make them marketable.
Mr Devakumar Edwin, Dangote Group Executive Director, Capital Projects, who argued that the training is aimed at making youths from its host communities employable, said the initiative is a demonstration of Dangote Refinery’s commitment towards capacity building and youth empowerment in the country.
The vocational skills, which was launched in collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) was designed to cover plumbing, masonry, welding, iron bending, auto mechanics and electrical works.
Edwin stated that the scheme geared towards instant value addition to the lives of the youths and their communities will the equip young men with trade skills that would prepare them for better opportunities.
At the ceremony, which was attended by top Obas and community leaders including the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu and all the Baales in the host communities, the Dangote Group boss said the company would continue to invest in projects that would add value to the lives of the people in the communities hosting its facilities across the country.
“At Dangote Industries Limited, our Corporate Social Responsibility projects are centred around the development and wellbeing of the people, especially our host communities. In Ibeju Lekki, we have executed several projects that are enhancing the lives of the people. We have provided boreholes for all the communities, classrooms for the local school, and we just awarded scholarships to 51 secondary school students.
“This programme is another level of our intervention as it is targeted at providing vocational skills to the teeming youth population in our host communities. The youths are veritable assets in any society and the quality of the youths determines the outlook of tomorrow’s society. Therefore, an investment in developing vocational skills among youths will yield the desired results,” he said.
Engr. Frank Ibi, the Manager, Projects Certification and Authorisation Division (PCAD), NCDMB, who represented the Executive Secretary, Engr. Simbi Wabote, commended Dangote Refinery on its achievement and underlined that Nigerian Content is geared to promote domiciliation of value-adding activities and utilisation of Nigerian human and material resources.
He said the Board’s mandate is to ensure that training resources and efforts are devoted to providing young Nigerians with specialised skills and certifications needed to get employment.
Engr. Ibi commended Dangote’s commitment to NDCMB Human Capacity Development Initiatives, which he believed would provide a platform for the youths to contribute to Nigeria’s economic development.
In his remarks, Oba Akiolu said the programme was unprecedented in that the company was yet to start operation but yet decided to empower the youths from the area to make them employable.
The Monarch then encouraged the youths to utilize the skills which they will acquire through the training programme. The monarch, who commended Dangote Refinery for its unwavering support to community development initiatives in Lagos State, emphasized the need for the youths to work hard and be close to God.
Also, the Oba of Epe Land, Oba Kamorudeen Ishola Animashaun commended Aliko Dangote for bringing development to the communities through his investment in refinery and petrochemicals and urged other Nigerians of means to invest locally and lift the economy of the people at the grassroot.
The Chairman, Lekki Local Council Development Area, Barrister Ogidan Olaitan, who was the chief host, said the inauguration of the skills acquisition programme was a fulfilment of Dangote’s promise to the host communities and a step in the right direction.
According to him, the company promised the award of scholarship to students in the host communities, and noted that this was fulfilled through the award of scholarship to secondary school students last week. He called on the company to assist the communities with science and technology specialized schools.
The excited beneficiaries expressed happiness at the flag off of the scheme, saying the programme would go a long way at equipping them with necessary skills required for latest vocational job techniques and thanked the management of the Dangote Refinery for being a responsible corporate citizen.