The Dangote Refinery Group in collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) has began a six-month skills’ acquisition programme for the second batch of 200 youths in Ibeju-Lekki Community in Lagos State. The training, which was flagged-off by Dangote Group Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects and Portfolio Development, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, is aimed at curbing unemployment among the youths. The programme cuts across a wide range of vocational skills including welding, electrical technician, plumbing, auto mechanic, radio and television repairs, refrigerator and AC repairs, building and furniture making. Edwin said the initiative was in line with the vision of Aliko Dangote, President of the Dangote Group, to provide employment opportunities for youths, especially those found within the company’s host communities. He said addressing Nigeria’s unemployment crisis requires providing platforms for youths to learn various vocational trades that would enable them to develop themselves and also become employers of labour. “We know that there are a lot of graduates out there looking for jobs and that is why you should focus and take this training by the NDE seriously. We will train you; we will equip you, and also ensure that you will be employable or become entrepreneurs. “My advice is that you should take advantage of this training to better your lives and contribute positively to the society,” Edwin said. He commended NDE for making a success of the first batch training programme, which he said has totally transformed the lives of those who were trained. The Lagos State Coordinator of the NDE, Mrs. Serena Edward, lauded the Dangote Group for initiating the vocational training for the youths in the community, which began in 2019. Edward said: “We are training the youths to acquire skills in various trades through master trainers. This is the beginning of good things for the youths. Their lives are going to be totally transformed. “The objective of the training is to give youths skills that they will be able to generate wealth and curb unemployment. The skills will make them useful to themselves and the society. They will become self-employed and also generate employment for others.” She disclosed that some Ibeju-Lekki Youths who graduated from the 2019 pilot scheme of the programme were employed by Dangote Refinery and its contractors, while others chose to operate on their own. Edward noted that the training would be conducted in line with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Chief Operations Officer, Dangote Oil Refining Company, Giuseppe Surace encouraged the trainees to use the opportunity provided by Dangote to acquire new skills. On his part, the Oni-Lekki of Lekki, Oba Olumuyiwa Ogunbekun, commended Dangote Refinery for initiating the training and for the support to the communities in the locality. Ogunbekun, represented by the Awo of Lekki, Chief Adewale Salami, advised the participants to fully utilise the training to improve their lives and make positive impact in the society. Speaking on behalf of the participants, Mr. Abiodun Ajayi said they were excited to be given the opportunity of acquiring vocational skills that would impact their lives positively. Ajayi, who thanked the Dangote Refinery Group for the training, promised that the participants would be focused in order to actualise its objectives.