Port Harcourt — A total of 1,014 beneficiaries from Total Exploration and Production Nigeria, TEPNG/NNPC Joint Venture host and offshore neighbouring communities, have graduated from various vocational skills acquisition, as parts of its corporate social responsibility.
The beneficiaries, according to the French multinational, were trained for one year in various vocation ranging from auto-mechanic, catering, computer graphic designing, computer operations, crane operations, electrical installations, electrical/electronic works, excavator operations, fashion and design, fish farming, forklift operations.
Others are, generator repairs, GMP aluminium works, hair dressing, ICT, industrial scaffolding and rigging, machining, music, photography and videography, pipe fitting, pipeline welding, plumbing, post harvest produce preservation, refrigerator and AC repairs, truck driving, welding and fabrication, argon welding, bead making and make-up, building technology.
Speaking at the event, Total’s Deputy Managing Director, Port Harcourt District, Mr. Guillaume Dulout, said the skills training programme is designed to support the human capital development of youth and women of its target host communities.
Dulout said the was in line with UNSDG, which include to reduce poverty and hunger, improve health and wellbeing as well as provide decent jobs for economic growth and also encourage participation of women in particular in the building of sustainable cities and communities.
“This year, we are graduating a total of 1014 youths and women of TEPNG host communities who have over the course of the last 12 months, acquired various vocational skills.
“It is a unique opportunity for these young men and women to acquire various entrepreneurship skills which should enable them improve their individual competencies in particular and contribute meaningfully to the overall wellbeing of their communities and the States, in general.
“The training programme is also in consonance with the continued and sustainable corporate social responsibility policy thrust of the Total Group to touch lives in a positive and sustainable manner and in tandem with the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“Engender partnerships with governments, private sector and the civil society which, in this case, are the governments and peoples of Rivers and Abia States towards the achievement and sustainability of these goals.”
Dulout represented at the event by Total’s Community Relations Manager, Port Harcourt and Offshore, Mr. Okechukwu Obara, assured the beneficiaries that TEPNG is willing to ease acquisition of funds through its Business and Enterprise Development Department, for those who would build upon the initial training to set up and maintain thriving businesses.
“This assistance will go a long way to easing your entrance into the real world of business, open business links to markets and give you the needed support to further grow your skills and businesses.
“It is important for the skills graduates to know that learning is continuous. For you to be skilled in your trade, you must continue seeking ways to hone the skills that you have acquired. You will also need to exercise a great deal of humility to continue learning at the feet of those who have mastered your respective trades.”
He also commended NNPC, the Rivers State Ministry of Employment Generation and Economic Empowerment, and the Ministry of Youth Development and its host community leaders for their support in the realization of the skill acquisition training and other NNPC/TEPNG MoU related programmes.
“In furtherance of her MoU and CSR-related programmes, TEPNG annually sponsors in her host communities of Rivers, Abia and Akwa Ibom States, other educational development programmes including but not limited to the award of scholarships at post-primary, post-secondary, post-graduate local and foreign levels to deserving scholars of the communities.
“We also sponsor adult literacy programmes, build, renovate schools, donate educational equipment and other learning materials.”
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Employment Generation and Economic Empowerment, Mr Lawrence Ikuru, commended TEPNG for gesture and also appealed to the beneficiaries not to sell off their starter packs.
“On behalf of the ministry, I want to thank Total and its JV partners for packaging this kind of empowerment, especially in a time that this is much needed in our society. I believe other oil multinationals, if they can do what you have done, there will be peace in our communities.
“To the beneficiaries, Total has actually tried, they have equipped you for the future. Let frustration not push you to sell off these starter packs.”
On his part, the Project Lead, Niger Delta Youth Empowerment Project, Mr Emeka Ile, urged the beneficiaries to aspire to become worldclass entrepreneurs and employers of labour.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mr Owujie Joseph Samuel, from Opobo/Nkoro, who was trained in welding and fabrication, expressed gratitude to TEPNG for the lifetime opportunity, assuring that he will not disappoint the oil multinational.
“I am very happy as you can see. This is something I have been looking forward to, since I left secondary school. I have been looking forward to acquire a skill add when this opportunity came, I was lucky to have been selected by my community representative and today, after undergoing training for one year, here we are for graduation. I never knew it will be of this magnitude, to God be all the glory.
“TOTAL has done a lot for us, I am so proud of them. With this training and starter packs, they have given me a pillar and a base for me to make it in life. With this, so many people will be established through me, I have this zeal in me to not just established myself but also train others. I will still acquire more training in fabrication, so I can go further in life.”
Starter packs given to the beneficiaries include generators, welding machines, drilling machines, refrigerators, gas cookers, gas cylinders, bench vice, hair dryers and hair dressing accessories, computers and printers, footbath massagers and facial make-up kits, sewing machines, wheel barrows, shovels, etc.