Dangote, German govt launch €7million technical training project for Nigerian youths

Uba Group

… Sanwo Olu woos ADF, VDMA to set up same in Lagos
BY KENNETH O. EZE

THE Aliko Dangote Foundation, in partnership with Germany’s VDMA (the
German Association for Mechanical and Plant Engineering) and its Foundation for Young Talent in Mechanical Engineering, have formally launched a technical training program in Nigeria, in a bid to significantly address the skill deficit in all the key sectors of the nation’s economy.

During the launch of the programme on Wednesday, the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, said that the landmark program was a €7m investment, a large part of which had been spent on the specialised, leading-edge equipment, shipped in from Germany and installed in five purpose-built workshops for this program at the Dangote Academy in Obajana.

He disclosed that the beneficiaries would be trained, using these machines, so that they could acquire practical skills which would be transferable as they entered the workforce.

The program, according to him, is the first of its kind in Nigeria, and will be replicated in all the six geo-political zones of the country.

Noting that vocational and technical skills were vital to the wellbeing of any economy, as key levers for growth, specifically in the manufacturing sector, Dangote opined that significant skills gaps existed in Nigeria, which was what the program was seeking to address.

“The trainees that successfully pass through the full vocational training will be prepared as well-rounded professionals. In addition to the technical training, they will also get personal effectiveness trainings of same quality as our staff,” he said.

Germany’s Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Muller, lauded the Aliko Dangote Foundation and VDMA for the enviable program which in his opinion could transform and develop the economy of Nigeria.

He said his ministry had supported the initiative with €3.6 million and would not hesitate to do more to ensure that the purpose of the initiatives would be achieved.

The VDMA past president, Reinhold Fostge, said, “I am very happy that this has become reality eventually in Nigeria. We started six years ago. Four years ago, we signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a Nigerian German training project. This program is to raise the skill level of workers and make the youth employable.

“Our vision in VDMA is that, in future, we should be able to exchange highly skilled professionals between Nigeria and Germany and as a matter of fact, I have no objection to inviting Nigerian specialists to help me in Germany and vice versa.”

Meanwhile, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, enjoined both the Aliko Dangote Foundation and VDMA to consider siting the second training workshop in Lagos, with a promise to make funds available for the takeoff of what he described as “this laudable programme”.

He said, “I am truly excited to be part of this epoch and nation changing event. For us in Lagos, I am happy to announce that we have six well maintained vocational training schools. But we are going to not just talk here today, we are going to be making a public commitment that given what I have listened to now, we are not going to leave this to Dangote Foundation alone, we have to upscale our commitment.

“We won’t wait for him to replicate this in the six-geographical zones of the country. Lagos State will work with him and ask the VDMA what level of commitment is required from the state government to ensure that in no distant future, we can replicate and bring a full arm of the Dangote Academy to Lagos State. We do not want government bureaucracy to stall this. If it is to raise finance that is required, I can assure you that Lagos State is ready to do that and why are we making this commitment?”

“It is because of where we see Lagos. The amount of the teeming youth that we have in our country and our state. Lagos has continued to be the biggest economy in our country and even in Africa, and what this presents to us is an opportunity to bridge the gap that will help to significantly reduce the unemployment level in the state,” Sanwo-Olu said.