Photo caption: From left, former German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) President and promoter of the VDMA Initiative “Skilled Workers in Africa”, Dr. Reinhold Festge; Chairman, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Aliko Dangote; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Edward David Onoja; and President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Engr. Ahmed Mansur, at the Aliko Dangote Foundation-VDMA Technical Training Programme “tagged: Nigerian Industry meets German Engineering) launch in Lagos on Wednesday, June 2, 2021.
The Aliko Dangote Foundation, in partnership with the German Association for Mechanical and Plant Engineering (VDMA) and its Foundation for Young Talent in Mechanical Engineering (NWS), on Wednesday officially launched a technical training programme in Nigeria, as part of efforts to significantly address the skill deficit in key sectors of the economy.
Speaking at the official launch of the programme, the president of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote said that “the landmark programme 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 programme at Dangote Academy in Obajana.”
He said the beneficiaries will be trained, using these machines, to ensure they learn practical skills that will be transferable as they enter the work force, adding that the programme, the first of its kind in Nigeria, will be replicated in all the six geo-political zones of the country.
Stressing that vocational and technical skills are vital to the well-being of any economy, as key levers for growth, specifically in the manufacturing sector, Dangote lamented the significant skills gaps in Nigeria, which is what the programme seeks to address.
Continuing, he said trainees who “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.”
Congratulating the trainees, he said only 120 of the over 4,000 applicants were chosen, a situation, he said, “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.”
He also promised that more youth will be admitted, following which all the six geo-political zones of the country will, very soon, witness massive development through the scheme.
Commenting, Germany’s Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Gerd Muller, lauded the Aliko Dangote Foundation and VDMA for the enviable programme that can transform and develop the economy of Nigeria.
He said his ministry has supported the initiative with €3.6m and will not hesitate to do more for the purpose of the initiatives to be achieved.
On his part, Dr Fostge expressed happiness “that this has become reality eventually in Nigeria.”
Going down memory lane, he recalled how the journey started six years ago, two years after which a memorandum of understanding to establish a Nigerian German training project was signed.
“This programme 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 an obviously excited Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, enjoined both the Aliko Dangote Foundation and VDMA to consider citing the second training workshop in Lagos, with a promise to provide a take-off grant for the programme.
“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 the 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.
“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 present to us is an opportunity to bridge that will help to significantly reduce the unemployment level in the state.”