As a mission statement expressly provided in the law setting up DESOPADEC by the Delta State House of Assembly in 2006 and fully activated in July 2007, the Commission is meant “To put smiles on the faces of the people in the host oil and gas producing communities of the State through massive infrastructural and human capital development.”
Without undermining one for the other, the current board rolled up its sleeves from the blast of the whistle to deliver balanced intervention across the mandate areas in critical infrastructure, education, health, housing, water, road, transportation sub-sectors, as well as in re-skilling the youth in a well thought-out, all-purpose vocational programme to empower them.
-Convocation Ceremony of the 3rd batch of DESOPADEC Skills Academy graduands
The result was the creation of the DESOPADEC Skills Acquisition Academy with the endpoint of making the youth properly skilled, gainfully engaged and productively useful to themselves.
This innovative human capital development template which was officially kick-started in the first quarter of 2020 in a well structured non-formal curriculum saw successful pioneer candidates admitted into the scheme in a grand Matriculation Ceremony.
-Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, at the Matriculation Ceremony of the 4th batch of DESOPADEC Skills Academy trainees
The intent was clear: To give successful trainees a lifetime opportunity in honing their skills in various chosen vocational fields. The skills acquisition scope include Welding and Fabrications; Electrical and Electronic Repairs; Solar Energy Works; Tiling, Interlocking and P.O.P. Works; Catering and Confectioneries; Shoe, Bag Making and Leather Works; Information and Communication Technology, ICT; Health, Safety and Environment, HSE; Fashion Design and Tailoring; Hairdressing and Makeover.
The programme entails a 6-month intensive training and practical exposure, and assessment, evaluation and certification by relevant national technical education boards.
The DESOPADEC Skills Acquisition Academy started with 160 trainees drawn from all the six ethnic nationalities within the mandate areas. They underwent an orientation programme on financial management and efficient book keeping preparatory for their eventual graduation which held at the Petroleum Training Institute, PTI., Effurun, Delta State.
The highpoint of the graduation ceremony was their being well resourced with modern working tools and equipment, aka Starter Packs, to get them to hit the ground running from day one.
It must be stated here that besides the huge investment in their training and starter packs, the graduands also generally got a cash backup of N200,000 each. Some graduands got extra N500,000 each for emerging as best trainee in their respective fields while a star prize of N1 million was awarded to the Overall Best Trainee.
The extra gestures were borne out of a deep commitment by a responsive team and leadership determined to touch lives in a most salutary and impactful way.
The DESOPADEC Skills Academy has graduated two sessions and graduates its 3rd batch by the end of January 2023 after which the 4th batch would immediately commence.
Mention must also necessarily be made of the highly impactful annual Bursary Scheme in favour of tens of thousands of mandate areas students in Nigerian tertiary institutions.
The impact of this payment to the students is to be appreciated in the fact that many of them have expressed heartfelt gratitude to the Board and Management of DESOPADEC for their responsiveness, especially at the very precarious period of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
In keeping with the tradition, arrangement is already concluded for the commencement of payment of for 2022/2023 within the month of February.
Without doubt, the human capital development agenda of the current DESOPADEC board has been greeted with huge aplomb and commended by Government and diverse traditional and community leaders as a noble partnership that supports the greater vision of the Okowa administration which is to build as many youths in the state into responsible, financially independent and prosperous citizens.
Nothing truly could be too much to achieve this focal objective. Little wonder the awards have kept pouring in in torrents to a Commission that has become the toast of a dozen media and award conferment establishments!
Undoubtedly, our testimonial of infrastructure and human capital development interventions evidence a deep commitment to the elevation of human dignity and environmental equity for the people and communities of Delta State oil producing areas. It is a commitment that DESOPADEC will continue to rekindle for the good of the people.