Four out of 10 members of the Niger Delta Post-Graduate Scholarship to some of the most prestigious universities in the United Kingdom have been offered gainful leadership employment after successfully going through recruitment process of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria.
The remaining six have also been absorbed by the other oil and gas majors in the region after completing a similar process.
The scholars are the10 pioneer 2010 SPDC Niger Delta Post-Graduate Scheme Scholars, who undertook one-year oil and gas industry-related Master’s Degree Programmes in Imperial College, London; University College, London; and University of Leeds.
The 10 scholars, mainly from Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states, who had obtained post-graduate admissions into the top-class universities before applying for the scholarship, were sponsored to enable them fulfil their dreams of becoming the best they could be, given the opportunity to explore the boundless walls of academic resources in the three universities.
Speaking at a dinner in honour of the returnee post-graduate scholars in his residence in Port Harcourt, SPDC Managing Director, Mutiu Sunmonu, said “we are particularly glad that all of you have gone through our recruitment process and some of you have received employment offers from Shell and other interested companies.”
Sunmonu noted that, “we partnered with three of the top universities in the UK because we wanted the beneficiaries to have a competitive advantage while being considered for key leadership opportunities in the oil and gas industry,” and expressed satisfaction that the 10 “completed their studies within the stipulated time with very good grades.”
He told the scholars that they “are indeed amongst our best and brightest,” adding that “you have proven that Nigerians can indeed compete at any level at world class institutions and excel.”
Sunmonu, who is also chairman, Shell Companies in Nigeria, said the dinner was organised “to honour the sterling efforts of the scholars and to show the level of importance Shell attaches to education as a crucial aspect of our social investment programmes,” insisting that the company would continue to support and build the capacity of Niger Deltans to ensure that they are equipped to participate at leadership levels in the oil and gas industry.
The managing director stated that it was for this reason that Shell has invested well over $2.7million in human capital development to facilitate access to education at all levels, emphasising that in 2010 alone, it awarded 2,730 secondary and 750 university scholarships, and supports more than 17,000 secondary schools and university students, in addition to 60 brilliant hard-to-reach students from very remote communities in the Niger Delta and 10 overseas post-graduate students, at any one time.
In his remarks, General Manager, Nigerian Content Development, Igo Weli, expressed delight that the scholars bequeathed themselves in their various courses of study, and said their performance was a tacit fillip to the desire of the company to do more to ensure that a stream of competent graduates in the oil and gas field from the Niger Delta are produced to take over the leadership of the industry.
Responding on behalf of the scholars, petroleum geophysics graduate from Imperial College, London, Edivri Edafe Perekowei and civil engineering graduate from University College, London, Nani Eseoghene Aghogho, extolled the bold initiative, the transparency in the selection of candidates and the challenging opportunities offered beneficiaries, and urged other Niger Delta youths to aspire to achieve their tall ambitions by keying into the scholarship scheme and the many others in the region.