About 200 youths from Ibeju-Lekki community in Lagos State have graduated from various skills acquisition programme organised by Dangote Petroleum Refinery as a way of transforming society and providing employment opportunities for the youths.
The programme was put together by Dangote Petroleum Refinery and facilitated by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and the Nigerian Content Development and Management Board (NCDMB). The skills acquisition programme, which cut across a wide range of vocational skills such as plumbing, welding, iron bending, auto mechanics and electrical works, marked the successful completion of the first batch trainees. The programme marks another level of Dangote Petroleum Refinery’s intervention as it is targeted at providing vocational skills to the teeming youth population in its host communities.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Dangote Group Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects and Portfolio Development, Mr. Devakumar Edwin said the initiative was a demonstration of Dangote Refinery’s commitment toward capacity-building and youth empowerment in the country.
Edwin said the programme was another level of Dangote Petroleum Refinery’s intervention targeted at providing vocational skills to the teeming youth population in its host communities. He said the programme was also aimed at making youth from its host communities employable. He said the 200 youths from Ibeju-Lekki community in Lagos State graduated from various skills acquisition programmes put together by Dangote Petroleum Refinery as a way of transforming society and providing employment opportunities for the youths. He urged the graduands to be more focused and diligent in whatever they do and serve as frontier to others.
"With the tools given to you today, you can be good ambassadors of this great community. So many graduates outside are still searching for jobs, but yours is different because you have been trained. We are going to give you our maximum support to ensure you are employed in our operations, as our host communities remains our priority. These skills given to you today, can take you to various places and attract better opportunity if managed effectively," he said.
Edwin advised the graduands to commit themselves to continuous learning and development as the business environment changes frequently, and promised to assist them to succeed.
According to him, as the petroleum refining & fertiliser complex comes on stream, it is expected that will be a population boom in the surrounding communities, who requires the services of the trainees. He expressed optimism that the host communities will experience a turnaround in their fortunes very soon.
Also at the event, Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State promised to employ the 200 youth of Ibeju-Lekki community who graduated from various skills acquisition programmes in the Lekki Free Trade Zone. Sanwo-Olu, represented by Dr. Tunde Sodade, the Managing Director of Lekki Free Trade Zone Worldwide, said the governor was passionate about employing the youths through skilled vocational training. He lauded the Dangote Group for the initiative and urged the newly graduated youth to be good ambassadors to the state and their community.
"We will ensure that all of you that graduated today, will be employed at the free zone because we believe that what you learnt will be useful for the development of the zone. I urge you all to be good examples to others and always demonstrate better character and integrity in what you do," Sanwo-Olu said.
He urged the graduands to register their names with the Lekki Free Trade Zone management, so they could be employed by all companies within the zone.
The State Coordinator of the Nigerian Directorate of Employees (NDE), Mrs. Serena Edward lauded Dangote group for pioneering the skills vocational training for the youths in the community.
Edward said the programme which started six months ago, had today recorded tremendous success among the 200 graduands.
"We encountered some challenges in the course of the programme, which the community elders intervened. The programme has transformed the students to do better and also improved their standards of creativity on the jobs leant. Today, the programme has facilitated the students to open an account with a bank as a sign of seriousness towards business. Dangote has given the community youths useful tools to work with and advised you use it diligently," she said.
Oba Olumuyiwa Ogunbekun, the Oni-Lekki of Lekki encouraged the youth to fully utilise the skills they acquired. He commended Dangote Refinery for its unwavering support to community development initiatives in the state and emphasised the need for the youth to work hard.
Ogunbekun also urged Dangote to assist in employing the trained youths in other to foster youth mutual relationship in the community and make them practise what they learnt. He also commended Aliko Dangote for bringing development to the communities through its investment in refinery and petrochemicals and urged other Nigerians of means to invest locally and lift the economy of the people at the grassroots.
Mr. Musa Ajibola, an instructor, urged companies to follow what Dangote had done while urging companies to make the training one year programme than six months. He said the training had broadened the knowledge of the youths toward improving their knowledge.
One of the students, Balogun Fuad said the programme was laudable, adding that it came at the right time. According to him, most youths in the area do not have a meaningful livelihood, while urging Dangote and others to employ them.
Another student, Balogun Owolabi said the programme had created opportunities for most of the youth. He added that this could make them independent in the community.