Solomon Elusoji
Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria (TUCN), through its TOTALPreneur initiative, has graduated a second batch 60 youths in agriculture and vocational education at OFFERCentre Institute of Agriculture, Oluponna, in Osun State.

TOTALPreneur is TUCN’s flagship entrepreneurial capacity development initiative.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, which held on Tuesday in Osun State, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of TUCN, Mr. Nicolas Terraz, said Total, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitments, decided to partner with OFFERCentre to train the young students because it believes “building relationships with stakeholders ensures trust, transparency and sustainability. Sustainability drives efficiency and efficiency indeed, drives down costs. We recognise these linkages and indeed apply them to achieve our CSR goals.”

Under the TOTALPreneur-OFFERCentre partnership, 30 youths received training in agriculture (fish farming, animal husbandry, pottery and crop production), while another 30 youths received vocational education in Catering and Hotel Management, Event Management, Cakes and Pastries.
However, all 60 trainees also received skills training on Business Management, Computer Operation, Accounting and Marketing.
The training programme, which started on September 5, ran for three months, and came to an end yesterday. This is the second batch sponsored by TUCN, after the first set of 60 students graduated in 2016.

The best student in Catering, Okpara Elizabeth, told THISDAY that the training did not just teach her new things, but taught her how to be an entrepreneur. “Here, I learnt how to go to the world and take it on,” she said. “I used to be afraid of starting a business, but with the training here, I can go to any length. Even if I fall, I will rise again.” She has already drafted plans of starting a cake and pastries business.

“We are happy with the success story of the first batch,” Mr. Terraz, who was represented at the ceremony by TUCN’s Executive General Manager for CSR, Vincent Nnadi, said. “About 10 per cent have continued to further their education in agriculture, while the remaining 90 per cent are engaged positively in their different trades.

“The entrepreneurial engagement in agriculture and vocational skills is a deliberate strategic move to develop the youth, fight poverty and eliminate crime. As you know, agriculture has great market potential for small and medium size entrepreneurs, while vocational skills are services that are always in need and never out of fashion. These therefore provide great outlook for the youth.
Meanwhile, the OFFERCentre, which is under the Oluponna Fish Farming and Resource (OFFAR) Foundation, praised Total for its commitment towards developing youthful capacity. “Our appreciation to the Total team and its partners remain unbounded,” OFFERCentre’s Rector, Rev. Macarious Olatunji, said.