Lafarge Africa Plc says it is seeking ways to gainfully engage youths in communities where it engages in business and has enrolled 15 youths from Ogun, Gombe and Cross River states in the maiden Cement Professional Technician Programme.
The programme involves the training of youths in the cement manufacturing process.
The Country Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Africa Plc, Michel Puchercos, who was represented by the Communications, Public Affairs and Sustainable Development Director, Lafarge Africa, Folashade Ambrose-Medebem at the inauguration, said the initiative would increase local content of Lafarge operations in the country and bridge the skills gap in the cement industry.
The programme, he said was in partnership with the National Board for Technical Education, Industrial Training Fund and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, adding that the certificate awarded after the programme would be accredited by the NBTE and valid for admission into any Nigerian university.
Speaking at the inauguration and matriculation of the new intakes at the Ewekoro Plant in Ogun State, the Manager, Lafarge Africa CPTP, Michael Shokunbi, stated that the company had expanded the scope and coverage of the scheme to include science-based young school leavers from the North-East and South-South geo-political zones of the country.
Shokunbi explained that though the scheme was designed for empowerment of youths drawn from its host communities and bridging the skills gap and improving employability among the targeted youths, the accreditation and partnership with the NBTE as well as the ITF and the National Consultative Assembly made the certificate valid for admission in any Nigerian universities.
According to him, the training aims at equipping participants, who will receive their training across the country, state-of-the-art training centres, with knowledge and technical skills to work in the cement industry.
He added that there would be training in mechanical, electrical, instrumentation and automation technologies, cement manufacturing process and entrepreneurship.
Puchercos noted that the programme had been unified and improved upon to bring change in the society, and was part of the company’s corporate social responsibility.
He added, “With this launch of the CPTP, 15 pioneer participants will be formally inducted into the programme and will run for three years across all our locations in Nigeria.
“These participants drawn from our host communities will enjoy multiple benefits of theoretical and practical coaching as well as having exposure across the plants of Lafarge Africa in Nigeria.”
The Ogun State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mrs. Modupe Mujota, said Lafarge Africa’s innovation and initiative on youth development, especially as regards science-based training, was commendable.