Youths Empowerment: Dangote Group, Foundation Launches E7m Skills Training Initiative For Nigerian Youths
Chairman Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, on Wednesday, launched a new youths’ empowerment initiative, the “Aliko Dangote Foundation-VDMA Technical Training Programme,” worth E7 million (Euro) to bridge skills gabs in Nigeria.
The initiative, being executed in collaboration with the German Association for Mechanical and Plant Engineering, ADF, VDMA and its Foundation for Young Talent in Mechanical Engineering, NWS, specifically, aimed at empowering young Nigerian youths to hone their technical knowledge and skills in the areas of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering.
This happened as Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babjide Sanwo-Olu, expressed his administration’s readiness to partner with the foundation and other private sector to further enhance employment generation for Lagos youths.
Sanwo-Olu, speaking at the launch, held at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, expressed appreciation to Dangote for always wielding his influence positively to improve the lives and livelihood of Nigerians, noting that no business person had single-handedly invested more in the Nigerian economy than Alhaji Dangote, with an extensive footprint that cuts across multiple sectors and regions of the country.
According to him: “Let me say that in these partners we have a perfect combination: one of Nigeria’s largest industrial empires coming together with the very well-regarded association of mechanical engineers in Germany, a country with a world-leading reputation for the excellence of its technical talent. The motto of this partnership: ‘Nigerian Industry meets German Engineering!’ aptly captures that meeting of two countries and cultures and backgrounds. The output of such a partnership cannot be anything other than transformational, for the young people of Nigeria and for the country’s economy.
“Here in Lagos we are the proud and excited beneficiary of Alhaji Dangote’s multi-billion-dollar investment in the largest single-train Petroleum Refinery in the world, and an associated Fertilizer and Petrochemical Plant. The Dangote Group’s impact is also being felt in road infrastructure, with the excellent work being done on the Apapa Oshodi-Oworonshoki Expressway, under the Federal Government’s Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme, also known as Executive Order
“We are all witnesses to the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria, especially youth unemployment. While Governments at the Federal and State levels are doing a lot to tackle the scourge of unemployment, there is still room for much more to be done.
“This technical training programme will create unprecedented skilling and employment opportunities for Nigerian youth between the ages of 16 – 24, who possess secondary school certificates and a willingness to learn the theory and practice of mechanical, electrical, electronic and mechatronics engineering.
“Upon completion of the training programme, the trainees and all those who have taken part in the programme will be able to make meaningful contribution to societal development, by providing practical skills and solutions to some of the most significant technical and industrial challenges facing our country. New jobs will be created, existing ones will see expansion, and a new generation of young people will find professional inspiration and fulfilment
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“This most laudable initiative aligns with our administration’s commitment to youth empowerment though vocational training and support. This is the major focus of our Employment Trust Fund, LSETF the ongoing Graduate Internship Placement Programme (targeting thousands of unemployed graduates and early-career professionals);and several other catalytic initiatives of the Lagos State Government.
“We welcome this latest addition to the Capacity-building landscape. It is an admirable initiative coming at a most appropriate time, a period demanding urgent and ambitious solutions to the lingering national problems of unemployment and un-employability.”
Sanwo-Olu therefore, urged other well-meaning stakeholders and influential members of the society to take a cue from the initiative, and put in place similar programmes and initiatives that will empower the youths and allow them make meaningful contribution to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.
“Lagos State Government will do everything in our power to support you and ensure the success of this programme,” he assured.
In his address Dangote, said the aim behind ADF-VDMA initiative is for the greater benefits of Nigeria, by creating jobs for the teeming youth of the country.
While congratulating beneficiaries, Dangote said, “we chose only 120 of you out of over 4,000 applicants. This means you are smart, you are the best and the brightest, we believe in you, and expect great things from you. I urge you to make use of this wonderful opportunity and become productive for the well-being of our country.
“As we all recognize, vocational and technical skills are vital to the well-being of any economy, as key levers for growth, specifically in the manufacturing sector. Unfortunately, significant skills gaps exist in Nigeria, which is what this program is seeking to address.
“This landmark program is a Seven-million Euro investment, a large percentage of which is for the specialized, leading-edge equipment that has been shipped from Germany and installed in five workshops purpose-built for this program at Dangote Academy in Obajana.
“The trainees will be trained using these machines, so they can learn practical skills that will be transferable as they enter the work force. This program is the first of its kind in Nigeria, and I am proud that we are doing this together with our committed partners.
“The German Vocational Education and Training System, known as dual training system, combines theory and training embedded in a real-life work environment. It features cooperation between companies and publicly funded vocational schools in a process that is regulated by law.
“As a private sector entity, the program is a crucial step in a larger vision of collaboration between Nigeria and Germany that we expect will lead to the exchange of knowledge, technology, and industrial capabilities.
“We also hope that this could lead to the deepening of the commercial relationship between our two countries.
“Today, we are reiterating our commitment to sustain this partnership arrangement and provide opportunities for scaling up the technical skills of our youths to help expand the skills’ base for the sustained growth of our nation’s economy.”
File Photo: Alhaji Aliko Dangote