Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals Company has raised the bar in social investment with the kick-off of training for 200 youths in its host communities, as part of its corporate social responsibility initiatives.
The gesture is also aimed at making youths from its host communities employable.
The launch of a vocational training scheme that would inculcate various skills in the young men and women from its Ibeju-Lekki area of operations to make them marketable actually took off last Wednesday with much fanfare.
Dangote Group’s executive director, capital projects, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, said the initiative was 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 works, auto mechanics and electrical works.
Edwin stated that the scheme, which is geared towards instant value addition to the the youth and their communities, would equip young men with trade skills that would prepare them for better opportunities.
At the colourful ceremony, which was graced 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 people in the communities hosting its facilities across the country.
He said: “At Dangote Industries Limited, our CSR 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.”
The manager, Projects Certification and Authorisation Division, NCDMB, Engr. Frank Ibi, who represented the executive secretary, Engr. Simbi Wabote, commended Dangote Refinery on its achievement and underlined that Nigerian content was geared to promote domiciliation of value-adding activities and utilisation of Nigerian human and material resources.
According to him, 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.
Ibi commended Dangote’s commitment to NDCMB’s 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 youths from the area to make them employable.
The monarch then encouraged the youth to fully utilise the skills that they would acquire through the programme. The monarch, who commended Dangote Refinery for its unwavering support to community development initiatives in Lagos State, emphasised the need for the youths to work hard and be close to God.
Also, the Oba of Epeland, 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.
Chairman of Lekki Local Council Development Area, Barr. Ogidan Olaitan, who was the chief host, said the inauguration of the skills 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.
Meanwhile, the National Directorate of Employment state director, Adebola Ologbenla said the trainees would undergo six months attachment with certified master trainers under the directorate.
He noted that after the trainings, the youths would either be employed directly by the refinery or engaged as contractor, assuring that they would never end up unemployed.