The Shell Petroleum Development Company operated Joint Venture has trained 15 engineering graduates from host communities of the Afam VI Power Plant at Oyigbo in Rivers State on the operation and maintenance of combined cycle power plants.
They are the second set of 30 graduates from the host communities to benefit from the initiative, which incorporates training sessions in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
â€œWe can confidently say that the trainees are the best set of engineers in the Nigeria electricity industry today,â€ Afam Power Project Manager, Ben Agbajogu, said during a ceremony in Port Harcourt to mark the end of the one-year training. â€œThe trainees have been adequately equipped theoretically and practically on operating and maintaining modern power plants, and can compete favourably with their counterparts anywhere in the world.â€
The training included exposure of the graduates for 11 months at the Afam VI Power Plant to operating and maintaining a combined cycle power plant and one-month specialised certificate training at the Osborne Training Services Newcastle, United Kingdom.
The member representing Oyigbo constituency in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Chisom Dike, said the initiative had become a personal dream come true as he recalled how SPDC accepted his proposal as a youth leader about 12 years ago to train over 100 youths in various skills.
Dike said: â€œThe success story of that initiative today is that our youths are major participants in virtually all construction and fabrication projects undertaken anywhere in Oyigbo Local Government Area and beyond.â€
The Rivers State Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, John Bazia, advised the graduates to make the best of the opportunity of their training by exploring entrepreneurial opportunities and providing employment to others.
Eze Elijah Adiele, the traditional ruler of Ayama community, thanked SPDC for the sustainable community development programme, which has given bright future to graduates from Afam Power Plant communities.
The Power Plant Operations and Maintenance training programme began in 2013 with a set of 15 graduates of engineering background trained in Bangkok, Thailand.
Afam VI Power Plant commenced operations in August 2008.
The 650-megawatt plant, with its unique combined cycle design, contributes 14 per cent to 20 per cent to the national grid, requiring only two-thirds of the gas needed by many of Nigeriaâ€™s existing power plants to generate each unit of electricity.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change issued the plant about 541,537 Certified Emission Reductions credits in 2015, the first energy efficiency project on power generation registered from Nigeria.