On the 31st of January, 2017, the Oleum Academy celebrated the graduation of its third batch of students, consisting of over 200 participants having come to a successful completion of an intensive 3-months blended learning in auto-mechatronics. Conceived by OVH Energy Marketing Limited as a corporate investment initiative, the skills development programme is targeted at bridging the skills gap amongst mechanics in the Nigerian auto-repair industry. In 2014, the Oleum Academy was inaugurated in Lagos with 100 mechanics; since then the initiative has grown, having trained over 850 mechanics to date.
In 2016, the initiative was launched nationwide with the coming on board of more mechanics in Uyo, Abuja and Ibadan.
Set in a classroom-type environment, the Oleum Academy offers a 3-month highly interactive training session free to the mechanics and are tutored by a renowned auto-care training outfit, Automedics Limited. The training also has practical sessions, where the mechanics tackle real-life auto situations, learning how to operate advanced diagnostic tools that limit detection errors to the barest minimum. Upon successful completion of the training, the mechanics are awarded certificates and are equipped with the skills and confidence to advance in their area of expertise.
Lilian Ikokwu, Head of Lubes, OVH Energy Marketing Limited speaking on the purpose of the initiative said, “ The goal is to create well-qualified blue-collar workforce to meet the ever-increasing, local industry demands by providing the tools and resources required to meet the dynamic auto maintenance industry.“ To support graduates from the Oleum Academy in their trades, OVH Energy Marketing also has an entrepreneurship scheme, the mechanic Oleum Reseller enterprise (M.O.R.E) - a reseller’s initiative that provides economic empowerment to the mechanics to retail the Oleum range of lubricants with a flexible paying structure and attractive profit margin.
Speaking on the training initiative, Mrs. Olaposi Williams, CEO, OVH Energy stated, “as an indigenous company we are concerned about our environment and the economy. We know that Vision 2020 can only be achieved if we focus more on areas like human capital development and expertise. Hence, we have designed initiatives such as the Oleum Academy to train mechanics who can confidently exhibit skills that are of world class standards. If we can make world-class products like Oleum, we can also groom world-class talent.”
One of the graduating students in Lagos, Rabiu Adenekan described it as an opportunity of a life-time. He said, "Before this training, I depended on the experience I got as an apprentice years ago. It has been difficult to even fix modern cars and I was losing customers because they will rather go to someone that can handle their cars. With this training, I know more about those kind of cars and no one can steal my customers again.”
Fathia Akerele, a female auto-technician described the training as a stepping stone. She stated, “The past three months have been very rewarding, I started my apprenticeship two years ago, but with this training I have had to deal with different tools and I have been taught how to find out what is really wrong without doing trial and error. I feel so prepared and I am more confident because of all I have learnt.”
As skills development is key to achieving the country's Vision 2020 agenda in becoming one of the twenty largest economies in the world, Oleum Academy is geared towards the vision and plans to train 5000 Nigerian mechanics nationwide by the year 2020.
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