Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria, through its TOTALpreneur programme, has trained 60 youths in agriculture and other basic skills.
They were trained at the OFFERCentre Institute of Agriculture in Oluponna, Osun State.
During the graduation ceremony, which also held at the institute, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, TUCN, Mr. Nicolas Terraz, said the initiative was part of Total’s Corporate Social Responsibility of making the youth entrepreneurs and job creators.
He stated that the organisation was collaborating with the OFFERCentre to train students because it believed in building relationships with stakeholders to ensure trust, transparency and sustainability.
Terraz, who was represented at the ceremony by the company’s Executive General Manager for CSR, Mr. Vincent Nnadi, pointed out that about 10 per cent of the beneficiaries had continued with further education in agriculture, while the remaining 90 per cent were engaged positively in their different trades.
He said, “The entrepreneurial engagement in agriculture and vocational skills is a deliberate strategic move to develop the youth, fight poverty and eliminate crime.
“As you know, agriculture has great market potential for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, while vocational skills are services that are always in need and never out of fashion. These, therefore, provide great outlook for the youth.
He added, “Sustainability drives efficiency and efficiency, indeed, drives down costs. We recognise these linkages and indeed apply them to achieve our CSR goals.
“We are happy with the success story of the first batch. About 10 per cent of these youths have continued to further their education in agriculture, while the remaining 90 per cent are engaged positively in their different trades.”
Under the TOTALPreneur-OFFER Centre partnership, 30 youths received training in agriculture (fish farming, animal husbandry, pottery and crop production); while another 30 youths were trained in catering and hotel management, events management, cake and pastry making.
All 60 trainees also received training in business management, computer operation, accounting and marketing.
The best student in catering, Miss Elizabeth Okpara, said the training had impacted entrepreneurial skills on her and taught her how to start and grow a business successfully.
“Here, I learnt how to go to the world and take it on. I used to be afraid of starting a business, but with the training here, I can go to any length. Even if I fall, I will rise again,” Okpara stated.
The Rector of the institute, Rev. Macarius Olatunji, while commending the TUNC, said, “What we are celebrating today is not just the graduation of another set of TOTALpreneurs, but the success of this project that is extremely important for the sustainable development of our people and the country at large.
“More than 1,650 candidates applied for the programme from across the country, out of which 60 were chosen. It is a sign that people are keying into the initiative.”
The guest lecturer, Dr. Siyansola Omitoyin, tasked the beneficiaries to make use of all the ideas they learnt to become job creators rather than job seekers.
“The challenges are there, but you have been trained in the ability to overcome challenges. You have acquired the skills to tackle risks. Always think out of the box. It is the unique things that you do that will stand you out,” she added.