Youths in Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos State who benefited from the first batch of the vocational training programme organized by Dangote Oil Refinery have been counting their fortunes with some of them securing jobs with the refinery, while others are engaged in various trades with the acquired skills.
The Dangote refinery vocational training programme which started in 2019, cuts across a wide range of skills including welding, electrical technician, plumbing, auto mechanic, radio and television repairs, refrigerator and AC repairs, building and furniture making.
Speaking on his experience so far, one of the beneficiaries, Mr. Balogun Jeleel Owolabi, said the training he acquired in refrigerator and air conditioner repair from programme has bettered his life and that of his family members.
“Now I can feed myself, pick my bills”, Owolabi, who is from Epe Local Government Area, said as he spoke about the impact of the training on him.
“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 added, while expressing excitement about the job offer, which he said has now empowered him to provide for his family.
He encouraged other youths in the community who are feeling reluctant about participating in the training programme to avail themselves the opportunity, as they stand to benefit much from the programme.
Ongoing construction of Dangote Refinery
“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,” Owolabi said.
Also, Mr. Lamidi Oladehinde. Who described the opportunity as life changing said, he is one of the lucky beneficiaries of the vocational training programme as he has also secured a job with the Dangote Refinery.
“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,” Oladehinde said.
Other youths who described their life changing experiences, urged Aliko Dangote not to relent in his efforts and investment in youth empowerment programmes, while also calling on youths in the community to take advantage of the programme.
Speaking on the rationale behind the training, Dangote Group Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects and Portfolio Development, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, said the programme is aimed at curbing unemployment among youths.
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 stated.