No fewer than 300 out-of-school youths in Lagos State are currently undergoing socio-economic empowerment under the South African energy firm, Sasol’s partnership with the junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN).
The training, one of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes, which started on Aug. 4 and will last for a year, is being undertaken at the Lagos State Skills Acquisition Centre, Mushin.
The Country Manager of Sasol Energy, Mr Mlandzeni Boyce, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos that his organisation would only partner with key foundations in its host community to fulfill the obligation.
Boyce said that the goal was to improve the capacity of youths in its immediate community in entrepreneurial pursuits.
He said the company would carry out the programme through JAN’s “Immersion Training Strategy: Targeting Young Marginalised Entrepreneurs (JA ITS TYME) Programme.’’
The JA ITS TYME curriculum, delivered by staff and volunteers of JAN, is designed to provide basic business education to out-of-school youths through a variety of hands-on activities and supplements supporting a diverse range of learners.
During the programme, which will span through the period of one year, participants will have the liberty to select any skill from a wide range of options provided by the Lagos State Skills Acquisition Centre.
“This is the first time we are partnering with JAN. We are partnering with them through funding and from what we see; this partnership should be able to lead to other areas obviously.
“We always believe that in each and every area where we do business as a company, our company has a heart and our company always looks at the community.
“We need to grow with the community around us, and we also want to impact the most affected and critical parts of the community which is the socio-economic aspect.
“And then, skills is a method that if the company cannot appoint someone, the company can do something in the community to ensure that the social and economic part of the society is improved,’’ he said.
The country manager told NAN that they had to focus on the informal sector of the economy since entrepreneurship was a bigger part of the Nigerian system.
“So, entrepreneurship is a bigger part of the Nigerian system, it’s something that we can’t deny.
“We know that it is growing and with companies like us coming out from where we have a very formal structure of the economy to here is also a learning experience.
“We think that by adding the little bit of knowledge we have into such areas will also improve the entrepreneurial and actual skills that is given to the person.
“And yes, I am pretty much sure that they having more people on the street doing all these artisan type of work will improve the economy,’’ Boyce added.
In the same vein, Miss Ade Sofola, JAN Director of Programmes, said the organisation was excited to partner with Sasol to develop young people in Lagos.
“Nigeria faces the challenge of economic development occurring on the macro level in GDP figures, which often does not translate to the micro level in reduction of poverty and better economic reality for its citizens.
“With this programme, we have created a tripod of support between Lagos State Government which has identified the young people who will benefit from the programme.
“And Sasol which has kindly funded and supported the delivery of the programme and ourselves at JAN that will deliver our innovative JA ITS TYME training to the young people,’’ Sofola added.
Also, the Principal of the Lagos State Skills Acquisition Centre, Olatunji Olumide, expressed gratitude and willingness to improve on the lives of the participants.
“So, being part of those that will contribute to the betterment of the lives of these people that most times are seen as never-do-well or miscreants is a thing of joy and a challenge for me.
“But since we have been able to take them off the road and we decide to keep them busy to learn one vocation or the other is a task that must be executed to its logical conclusion,’’ he said.
NAN reports that JAN is part of Junior Achievement Worldwide (JAWW), the world’s largest and fastest-growing non-profit economic education organisation with a 121-country network.
Since inception in 1999, JAN has reached over 690,000 students in over 1,000 schools in 29 locations across the country with the support of 2,000 volunteers.
As part of a global network, JAN is able to leverage resources and expertise to deliver localised cutting-edge experiential programmess built on JAWW’s three pillars of work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy, to in- and out-of-school youth aged five to 27 free of charge. (NAN)