Shell spends N5b in scholarship programmes

shellSHELL Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) says it has invested over $27.1m on scholarship programmes between 2012 and 2014, in its quest to improve the standards and promote education excellence in the country.

Managing director of the company, Osagie Okunbor, stated this recently in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, during a welcome dinner for the fourth batch of 2013/2014 SPDC Niger Delta postgraduate scholarship awards.

Okunbor explained that the company invested the sum of $5.3m on scholarship programmes in 2012, 1, 795 secondary and 850 university students benefitted from a $7.0m worth of scholarship awards in 2013, while in 2014, it spent $14.8m where 1, 356 secondary school and undergraduates students benefited, as well as 925 undergraduates.

The Shell boss said the company was committed to investing in education considering the fact that the country needs the most capable individuals to build its economy.

He said, “You need to help the students get to the ultimate height, and the only way the industrial sector can thrive is to inject the best intellect in our youths.

We need the most capable individuals to build the nation’s economy. “ He explained that the Niger Delta postgraduate scholarship scheme was initiated in 2010, adding that about 50 graduates have benefited from the scheme since it was initiated.

While stressing that the process the scheme adopts was very transparent, Okunbor said the programme was managed by three universities in the United Kingdom, Scholarship Consultancy Services based in the United Kingdom and the SPDC joint venture Nigeria Content team.

He said the initiative would no doubt boost the talent pipeline of oil and gas-related disciplines, emphasising that the scheme which covers all expenses, tuition, living allowance, travel and other associated costs, provides 10 postgraduate scholarships to students from the Niger Delta states.

At the end of the programme, the beneficiaries, he said, are not obliged to work for Shell, but return to Nigeria to contribute to nation-building.

Describing the scheme as laudable, he noted that many of the beneficiaries have been employed by international companies within and outside Nigeria, while Shell has engaged only nine persons. In their responses, the beneficiaries say the programme marked a huge turning point in their lives and gave them open door opportunities.

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