Two hundred youths of Ibeju Lekki, Lagos State, host community to Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals, a subsidiary of Dangote Industries Limited, have been chosen to undergo a six-month vocational training funded by the refinery as part of its corporate social responsibility to the community.
This is even as the refinery has reached 70 to 75 per cent completion with 50 per cent of major equipment already on site.
The programme organised by the refinery in partnership with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), is meant to prepare the selected youth with vocational skills that will make them employable or self-employed.
According to the company, the youth will be trained in areas such as plumbing, masonry, welding, iron bending, auto mechanics and electrical works because of the instant value addition to their lives and communities.
Speaking at the inauguration of the programme yesterday, the Group Executive Director, Dangote Industries, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, said the project was designed to train young men and women of the community with trade skills.
Edwin said: "At Dangote Industries Limited, our Corporate Social Responsibility 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."
Edwin explained that the company's aim in training the 200 youths was in line with the popular Chinese maxim, "give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."
He stressed that skills will provide them with a means of livelihood for their families and hangers-on, adding that "We believe in wealth creation in our host communities."
He also said: "As our petroleum refining and fertiliser complex comes on stream, it is expected that there will be a population boom in the surrounding communities, who will require the skills and services of the trainees.
"The 12th-century philosopher, Maimonides, said the "most meritorious of all, is to anticipate charity by preventing poverty, by teaching him a trade, or by putting him in the way of business, so that he may earn an honest livelihood and not be forced to the dreadful alternative of holding up his hand for charity." This is our philosophy," Edwin added.