By Charles Nwaoguji
Many indigent youths in Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos State are now counting their fortunes and reaping the benefits from the first batch of the vocational training programme organized by Dangote Oil Refinery.
So far, some of the youths who took part in the first batch of the programme which started in 2019, have secured jobs with Dangote Oil Refinery Company, while the others are doing well in their various trades.
“Now I can feed myself, pick my bills”, Mr. Balogun Jeleel Owolabi, who is from Epe Local Government Area, boasted as he spoke about the impact of the training on him and family members.
Speaking on his experience so far, Owolabi said that the training he acquired in refrigerator and air conditioner repair from the Dangote Refinery Vocational Training Programme has transformed his life and that of his family members.
According to him, Dangote Refinery offered him employment few months after graduating from the vocational training. “Few months after graduating from the training programme, I was called upon by the company to take up an employment at the project site.”
Owolabi described being offered an employment as the best thing that has ever happened to him. “I am very excited about the job and opportunity to learn more things from the company. My salary has been regular and I can now help my family members from whatever I am earning from the company.”
He encouraged other youths in the community who are feeling reluctant to participate in the training programme to make themselves available as they stand to benefit so much from the programme. “My message to other youths is that they should be serious and have focus. Although, the training may look challenging from the beginning, but at the end of it, they will be glad they did,” he added.
Also, Mr. Lamidi Oladehinde described himself as one of the lucky beneficiaries of the vocational training programme as he has been able to secure a job with the Dangote Refinery. He described the opportunity as ‘life-changing’. “The training has been beneficial in positioning us for success in our community.”
He stated: “I heard about the programme and indicated interest and we were asked to start our training and it lasted for six months. We learnt so many things; we learnt how to manage our business, how to balance our accounts and how to make our business plan. Jobs have been created for our army of unemployed youths by the company. And we are very impressed with Alhaji Aliko Dangote for bringing development, employment and empowerment to Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos State.”
Another beneficiary from Epe Local Government Area of Lagos State, Mr. Opafola Abayomi Olusegun, said he was trained on refrigerator and air-conditioned repair.
According to him, he went further to acquire more skill to be able to function well in his chosen career immediately after the training programme.
Narrating how he got a job at the Dangote Oil Refinery, Olusegun said he got a call from the Refinery to take up a job in the company. “After graduation from the vocational training, I went further to improve my skills in order to gain more experience on my trade. The training I acquired during the programme has impacted my life positively. Through this programme, I have been able to secure a job at Dangote Refinery company.”
He urged Aliko Dangote not to relent in his efforts and investment in youth empowerment programmes. “So many lives have been touched with Dangote vocational training,” he said.
Speaking on the rationale behind the training, Dangote Group Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects and Portfolio Development, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, said that the programme is aimed at curbing unemployment among the youths.
According to him, the programme cuts across a wide range of vocational skills including welding, electrical technician, plumbing, auto mechanic, radio and television repairs, refrigerator and AC repairs, building and furniture making.
Edwin said the initiative was in line with the vision of Aliko Dangote, President of the Dangote Group, to provide employment opportunities for youths, especially those found within the company’s host communities.
He said addressing Nigeria’s unemployment crisis requires providing platforms for youths to learn various vocational trades that would enable them to develop themselves and also become employers of labour.
“We know that there are a lot of graduates out there looking for jobs and that is why you should focus and take this training by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) seriously. We will train you; we will equip you, and also ensure that you will be employable or become entrepreneurs”, Edwin added.