05 February 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, says it has so far trained and built the capacity of over 22,612 youths and women on various vocational skills ranging from welding and fabrication to petroleum and drilling technology, solar power technology, oil spill technology, home finishing skills, amongst other.
Managing Director of the Commission, Mr. Nsima Ekere, who disclosed this at the 6th graduation of NDDC Skill Acquisition Training and Empowerment Support Initiative, ESI, for youths in home finishing skills in Port Harcourt, said the mandate of the commission was beyond physical infrastructure.
Ekere said the human capacity development strategy of the agency was anchored on the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan, which recommended the development of a highly skilled workforce that would enable the region to compete on equal terms with the leading players in the global market.
He explained that NDDC had trained internationally certified welding instructors in Nigeria and South Africa, adding that most of the beneficiaries were currently employed as non-destructive test engineers in the oil and gas industry.
“We have also trained 700 school certificate holders in welding and fabrication, 65 engineering and geology graduates in highly specialised petroleum and drilling technology, 150 youths in solar power technology, 180 in oil spill management, 180 in fibre optics installations and thousands of others in various other skills and empowerment programmes, such as fashion design, catering, food processing, computer literacy, among others.
“It is also about building capacity and equipping our people with skills and competences that enable them to join the rising global workforce. This aligns with the local content policy of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration,” the NDDC boss said.
Ekere noted that the building industry in Nigeria was facing a dearth of manpower, particularly in the critical area of office and home finishing and would require several trained hands locally to curtail the dependence on foreigners.
The NDDC boss commended the management of ESI for going the extra mile to bring world class experts in home finishing skills, from the United Kingdom, to lay a solid foundation for the pilot phase of the programme.
He thanked President Buhari for showing commitment to the development and progress of the Niger Delta region, saying, “especially for initiating the new vision for the Niger Delta, which will effectively rewrite our history and steady us on the path to sustainable development.”
Also speaking, the founder of ESI and wife of the Minister of Transportation, Dame Judith Amaechi, said beneficiaries have been trained on P.O.P ceiling installation; wall screeding and painting; floor tiling; plumbing; electrical wiring; specialized carpentry such as wardrobes and kitchen cabinets, as well as interior decoration.
Ameachi said the empowerment scheme was created to close the skills-gap that hindered sustainable growth in the region, noting that ESI was focused on tackling endemic poverty by developing a skilled force that would enable youths to be employable and self-employed.
Meanwhile, the graduating students of the home finishing skills training have each been given certificates, starter packs and the sum of N150,000 to enable them stand on their own.