Port Harcourt — As parts of its corporate social responsibility, the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited, PHRC, at the weekend graduated 80 youths from its host communities who were trained on its third edition of Youth Empowerment and Skills Acquisition Programme, YESAP.
The beneficiaries drawn from Eleme and Okrika were trained in welding and fabrication, information and communication technology, food processing, catering, hairdressing, fashion design, interlocking stones, and block molding.
Starter packs such as sewing machines, power generating sets, hairdryers, and washers, welding machines, welding inverters, gas cookers, cooking pots were presented to them according to the skills they acquired.
Speaking at the event, Managing Director of PHRC, Abba Buka, who presented the beneficiaries with Certificates of Completion and the starter packs, charged the participants not to sell the packs, but use them and be economically empowered with their acquired skills.
Buka explained that the company is a commitment to its corporate social responsibility and sustenance of its community relations, invested in the skills acquisition training for the youth of its host communities of Eleme and Okrika.
He further tasked members of the host communities, to continue on the part of peace and negotiation, using the Joint Community Relations Committee platform set up by the company, to resolve any disagreements that they may have.
According to him, “Skills acquisition and youth empowerment are no doubt a proven route to economic prosperity for any community.
“It affords the youths the opportunity to explore inner creative talents in them, build confidence and explore channels for useful economic involvement.
“It is my hope and belief that the youth empowerment and skills acquisition programme will divert the attention of the youth from crimes and criminality as they would be economically preoccupied. And therefore reduce cases of strife, apprehension and youth restiveness in the communities.”
The PHRC boss also assured members of the host communities that they would be carried along in the different phases of the company’s planned rehabilitation, adding that the company was committed to maintaining the cordial relationship with the communities.
Also, PHRC Executive Director, Services, Mr. Babatunde Sofowora, said that the graduation of the 3rd edition of YESAP was a testament to the commitment of the company and NNPC to foster mutual and symbiotic relationship with the host communities.
Sofowora explained that the company had earlier trained 155youths in various areas of trade in its first and second editions and the recent edition has brought the number of beneficiaries to 235.