Iwo (Osun) – No fewer than 60 youths have been trained in agriculture and vocational skills in Osun by Total Upstream Companies.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the youth were trained under a programme tagged: “TOTAL premiere” at OFFERcentre Institute of Agriculture, Oluponna, in Iwo Local Government area of Osun.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony at the institute on Tuesday, Mr Mike Sangster, the Total Managing Director, said that the youth were drawn from all the six geo-political zones of the country for the training.
Sangster said that under the agriculture programme, 30 youths were trained in fish farming, animal husbandry, pottery and crop production.
He said that the remaining 30 were trained in catering and hotel management, arts and crafts, photography and event management, among others.
Represented by Mr Vincent Nnadi, Executive General Manager of Total, Sangster said that the participants also received training in entrepreneurship, business management, computer appreciation, accounting and marketing.
Sangster said that Total had trained 240 youths at the Institute with more than N100 million invested in the training.
“Total came to OFFERcentre in 2016 and since then, it has invested over N100 million, in partnership with OFFERcentre.
“And by this, we have transformed 240 young men and women from being applicants and job seekers to entrepreneurs and employers of labour,” Sangster said.
He said that the training of the youth was in furtherance of his organisation’s corporate social responsibility and its deep water operations.
Sangster said that Total would monitor the youth, adding that the successful ones among them would receive further support from his organisation to help them grow their businesses.
In his remarks, Rev. Fr. Macarius Olatunji, the Rector of the institute, said that the participants were the fourth set to be graduating from the centre since its inception in 2016.
Olatunji said that the 60 graduating youth brought the total number of those so far trained to 240 since inception.
“You have trained 240 youths in four years. Don’t look at it as a small number in relative terms.
“This will create the needed ripple of entrepreneurs, not just from the direct beneficiaries but also, other companies which you have inspired,” Olatunji said.
He said that the graduating youths comprised 31 females and 29 males, adding that they were taken through the totality of agribusiness as well as catering, hospitality and crafts for three months.
“OFFERcentre Institute of Agriculture is not a conventional school; rather, it is a centre of creativity and innovation, borne out of the need to find solutions to some of our challenges as a people,” Olatunji said.
Some of the graduating youths, who spoke with newsmen, expressed gratitude to Total and OFFERcentre for the opportunity given to them.
Miss Gladness Eigbe, who was trained in catering and hospitality, said that the training she had received was enough to see her through in her business.
Eigbe, a native of Edo state and graduate of Economics, said she was ready to be an employer of labour and not a job seeker any longer.
NAN reports that the participants were given starter-packs for their businesses at the end of the programme.