The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has spent more than N62 million to train 57 youths from Afam communities in its eastern operations on various skills, and to equip them with starter packs to begin their own businesses.
Afam communities are in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State, and host the strategic Afam Power Stations and the Okoloma Gas Plant, built by SPDC Joint Venture.
The 57 youths were trained in electrical installations, welding and fabrication, fashion and design, computer and secretarial studies, and catering, among other vocational and technical skills to enhance their capacity to contribute meaningfully to the sustainable development of the impacted communities, the local government, Rivers State, and Nigeria.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony at the Air Force Secondary School, Port Harcourt, last Tuesday, SPDC’s General Manager, Social Performance and Community Affairs, Mr Tony Attah, said the event ends 18-month rigorous training programme, which consisted of vocational and technical training, industrial attachment, business development and leadership training workshops, and certification examinations managed by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).
Represented at the celebration of success and achievement by Mr Theo Wellington, SPDC’s government and community relations manager, Attah praised the graduating youths for their excellent performance at the trade test 1 and 111 examinations administered by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, stating that the youths have now become professional craft people, equipped with enduring skills needed to set up small businesses in their communities.
He charged the youths, comprising of both sexes, to use the starter packs given to them to set up their own businesses, and deploy new talents gained at the training positively in order to succeed in their chosen trades, and therefore, elevate the economies of their communities to another level of buoyancy, viability and vibrancy.
Attah challenged the youths to strive to become big employers of labour, expand their businesses by maintaining fruitful partnerships, and strengthen their potentials by establishing more learning academies to train other youths to become good ambassadors of peace and economic growth, and contributors to the sustainable development of the region.
In his speech, the Rivers State Commissioner for Economic Empowerment and Employment Generation, Hon Felix Nweke, lauded SPDC for the bold initiative to empower the youths with useful and life-changing skills, and noted that this was what the government and people needed now to help fast-track the transformation of the region.
Represented at the event by the Director, Youth Enterprise, Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Mr Pene Dimkpa, the commissioner stressed that the 57 youths, now fully engaged in meaningful enterprises, would reduce the number of restive and idle youths in the state, and thus, curb the spate of militancy in the region.
He thanked SPDC for giving meaning to the lives of the youths trained under the YTEP, and tasked the beneficiaries to make good use of the skills acquired and the tools handed over to them to impact positively on their respective communities, and indeed, the state.
Speaking on behalf of the graduands, Okechukwu Ogbonna, thanked SPDC for the opportunity given them to own their small businesses, and promised never to disappoint both their communities, the LGA, the state and the company.
A representative of Afam communities, Ndubuisi Iwela, also commended SPDC for empowering their youths and providing them with tools to start up their own businesses, and assured that the communities would continue to support the company’s business and sustainable development initiatives under the existing Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU), under which platform, the youths were trained.