Special Report

Empowering Future Entrepreneurs: How DESOPADEC Graduated 195 from its Skills Academy

The PTI Conference Centre in Effurun witnessed a significant event as the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Skills Academy proudly celebrated the graduation of 195 students from its 4th batch on October 17, 2023. This momentous occasion was graced by distinguished dignitaries, echoed with words of wisdom, and recognized the exceptional accomplishments of the graduates.

Commendation from the State Governor:

The Executive Governor of Delta State, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, although unable to attend in person, was eloquently represented by his Special Adviser on DESOPADEC, Rt. Hon. Basil Ganagana. He commended the DESOPADEC Board and Management for their unwavering dedication to nurturing a new generation of entrepreneurial leaders and wealth creators. He expressed appreciation for the continuation of the enduring legacy of the previous administration, emphasizing the importance of equipping the youth with the skills and knowledge needed for economic success.

DESOPADEC Board members

Offering valuable guidance to the graduands, he stated, “Today marks the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey, and I urge you to rise to the challenge. To succeed in entrepreneurial business requires focus, discipline, careful planning, determination, quality products, excellent customer service, and strong business management skills.”

Chief John Nani, Chairman of the DESOPADEC Board

Empowering Through Skills

Chairman of the DESOPADEC Board, Hon. (Chief) John Nani, cautioned the beneficiaries against selling their starter packs, highlighting that it would defeat the purpose of their training. He stressed that the outcome of the graduates’ endeavors would encourage the state government to sustain the program, aligning it with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

DESOPADEC’s CEO Encouragement

In his address, Chief Festus Ochonogor, the Managing Director/CEO of DESOPADEC, emphasized the crucial role of skill development and called upon the beneficiaries to “live up to expectation and show your appreciation for the government’s investment in you.”

Chief Favour O. Izoukumor, Executive Director, Social Services, DESOPADEC

The Vision of Empowerment

Chief Favour O. Izoukumor, Executive Director, Social Services, DESOPADEC, serving as the Chief Host, elucidated the vision behind the DESOPADEC Skills Academy. He explained that the academy was established to empower individuals with the knowledge and tools necessary to excel in today’s competitive world.

He urged the graduands to view their acquired skills not merely for personal gain but as instruments to uplift their communities, contribute to societal development, and create a lasting impact.

The EDSS highlighted the uniqueness of each graduate and encouraged them to use their skills to make a positive impact on society, just as DESOPADEC has impacted their lives. He emphasized the value of embracing obstacles as opportunities for growth, noting that continuous learning is crucial in a constantly evolving world.

“These skills should be seen as opportunities to develop your communities. Embrace your uniqueness and let it guard you on the path ahead. I implore you to embrace obstacles as opportunities for growth. Never stop learning, as the world is constantly evolving,” the EDSS advised.

Cross section graduands at the event

Training and Graduation Details

The DESOPADEC Skills Academy covered seven distinct skills, including Catering and Confectionery, Electrical Installation and Repairs, Hardware and Software Development, POP Tiling and Interlocking, Fashion and Design, Hair Dressing and Makeover, and Welding and Fabrication. A total of 195 students embarked on this journey of skill acquisition.

A Female Graduate Proudly Holding Her DESOPADEC Starter Pack

Recognition and Rewards

The ceremony’s pinnacle was the presentation of awards and a cash prize of N500,000 to the overall best graduate, Ruth Samuel, who scored an impressive 97% in Catering and Confectionery. The best students in each skill vocation were also recognized. Moreover, each graduate received a N200,000 take-off grant and a multimillion-naira starter pack to facilitate the commencement of their respective careers.

Cross section of traditional rulers during the event

The Royal Presence

The event garnered an esteemed audience, including prominent traditional rulers such as His Royal Majesty, Elder (Capt.) Dr. Joseph Timiyan (JP), Chairman of the Delta State Ijaw Traditional Rulers Forum and Ebenanaowei of Ogulagha Kingdom; His Royal Majesty, Pere Stanley Luke, Kalanama VIII, First Vice Chairman of the Delta State Traditional Rulers Council from Akugbene-mein Kingdom in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State; HRM Monday Obukohwo Whiskey, Udurhie 1, Ovie of the Idjerhe Kingdom, and various others.

Reactions from Graduands

Amidst the celebration, graduands expressed their thoughts on the significance of their training.

The Graduates, represented by Gold Iruoghene, expressed gratitude to His Excellency, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, the Managing Director, and the Head of DESOPADEC Board for their support. They also appreciated the visionary initiative of spiritual leaders and pledged to apply their acquired knowledge and values.

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