By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Dangote Graduate Drivers Training Scheme has commenced at the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT), Zaria. The scheme is expected to train 2000 graduates from various disciplines to become professional trailer and truck drivers.
Speaking while unveiling the scheme, the Vice Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Prof. Mustapha Abdullahi, described the initiative as timely in view of the growing rate of unemployment in the country.
The VC, who was represented by the Director Consultancy Services of the university, Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim Doko, commended the Dangote Group for designing the scheme, which he hoped would create opportunities for young graduates in the country to develop careers in transport and logistics.
Abdullahi called on Nigerians and corporate organisations to support the government in providing employment to jobless graduates. He noted that the road transport sub-sector had been dominated by touts, illiterates and school dropouts over the years, adding that the entrance of highly educated people will no doubt bring sanity to the Nigerian highways.
Also speaking during the event, the Director General and Chief Executive of the NITT, Alhaji Aminu Musa Yusuf, explained that the programme would be delivered in batches of one hundred (100) participants on quarterly basis over a period of four years terminating by 2016.
He said the trainee drivers would be taught theoretical and practical approaches to transport, adding that the practical components would include simulation and test track driving amongst other things before exposing them to highway driving.
Yusuf said agencies such as the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and the Federal Vehicle Inspection Office are expected to bring their expertise to bear on the scheme to ensure successful execution.
The representative of the Dangote Group, Mallam Bashir Bala said the scheme was designed to address failure on the part of truck drivers to meet the companies’ expectations due to their low level of education, exposure and perception amongst other factors.
He commended the management of NITT for accepting the challenge of executing the training programme and assured the institute of continued support.