Empowering Youths through Skills Acquisition 

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Chiamaka Ozulumba writes on the recent drive by Ikeja Electric in partnership with Slot Foundation to empower 40 youths through technical skills acquisition

As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Ikeja Electric Plc (IE), the leading Nigerian electricity distribution company, partnered with Slot Foundation to recently train 40 young persons in a skill acquisition and capacity building empowerment scheme, tagged Youth Empowerment Program (YEP).

YEP is one of IE’s CSR initiatives designed to empower youths who are mainly residents of its host communities, to be economically and socially responsible through technical skill acquisition.

Speaking during the graduation ceremony at the IE’s corporate headquarters, the Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Youdeowei said the company has demonstrated its commitment to improving the quality of lives of residents of its areas of operation as evidenced by the impact of its personal Corporate Social Responsibility (PCSR) initiatives across its network, since inception.

According to a World Economic Forum report on youth population in 2018, four in every 10 people are aged under 25 and they constitute 42 per cent of the global population. Nearly half of the World’s young people live in sub-Saharan Africa,

“So it therefore becomes imperative that young people are empowered to earn a living through entrepreneurship. This effort is also a crucial contribution to poverty reduction which is the whole idea behind Ikeja Electric’s support for this laudable project”, Youdeowei stressed.

While commending Slot Systems Limited for partnering Ikeja Electric to achieve this milestone initiative, the CEO said: “We are very delighted to have partnered the leading household name in phone and computer repairs. We have no doubt that the knowledge that these youth have gained in this program will equip them adequately as they venture into the world of entrepreneurs.”

He noted that the YEP Initiative has the potential of integrating the values of a good and productive citizenship in our youths, by motivating them to lead a normal life and by providing them a platform to develop and showcase their skills.

Youdeowei urged the participants to ensure that they make the best use of the opportunity that has been granted them, to achieve self-sufficiency. “For those of you graduating today, you have made the right choice. I congratulate you and urge you all to make good use of this great opportunity given to you to set up your own business and become employers of labour”, he added.

The Managing Director of Slot Systems Limited, Mr. Nnamdi Ezeigbo, expressed delight at the partnership with IE, which he described as a collaboration of value.

He said: “The training exercise for me is very impactful. It is the kind of empowerment that the young people should ask from the multi-national companies that are willing to create value for the society. Companies that are interested in Corporate Social Responsibilities.

“We are not just saying that empowerment should be about giving people money. We feel that empowerment should be about skill acquisition. This programme will help young people to become skillful and help them to become employable and most of them might even chose to be self-employed.”

The training session which lasted for three months was held at the Slot Academy and participants were selected from across the Ikeja Electric host communities. They were trained in computer, phones and accessoriesmaintenance and repair as well as business entrepreneurship ideas web design, hoisting and maintenance.

In recent times, Ikeja Electric has been at the forefront of youth empowerment with focus on improving the lives of customers within its host communities across its six business units with empowerment initiatives aimed at contributing to the growth of the society

Meanwhile, in another development, IE recently partnered PEP Store partner on Customer bill payment. In collaborating with PEP Stores, a multinational retail company, it was tailored towards enabling customers pay bills or recharge their account at designated PEP Stores across Lagos.

Under this partnership, post-paid and prepaid customers within IE network can pay their bills andrecharge their account while doing regular shopping in PEP Stores located in Gbagada, Maryland Mall, Ipaja, Isolo, Allen Avenue, Ikorodu, Ogba, Awolowo Way, Ojodu Berger, Idimu, Amuwo Odofin, Ogudu and Ikeja City Mall, Lagos.

While announcing the initiative at a press briefing, Ag. Chief Commercial Officer, Ikeja Electric, Ugochukwu Obi-Chukwu, said the essence of providing array of payment options and outlets that offer reliable and convenience services to customers was borne out of the company’s customer-centric approach to service delivery.

He said: “The collaboration between Ikeja Electric and PEP Store demonstrates our passion to consistently improve service and make energy available to consumers. This initiative gives convenience and seamless service to customers who needs to recharge their account or pay bills. Another interesting benefit of this partnership is that most of the outlets opens on weekends so customers can walk in to purchase token for energy or pay bills just as they shop other needs.”

He noted that the possibility of paying bills or buying electricity units while shopping and the convenience it offers will definitely provide a rich and satisfying experience for customers.

PEP Stores Country General Manager, Kofo Awonuga, stated that “this is an exciting partnership for us as both PEP stores and Ikeja Electric are very passionate about customers.  The Pep national footprint makes us a partner of choice and makes us able to offer convenience to customers who want to pay for their electricity bills in our stores. Our stores will accept cash or card for your prepaid (token meters) and post-paid electricity bill payments.”

The transaction platform is provided by FCMB and customers can choose to pay with cash or Point of Sales (POS) transaction at the designated PEP stores. At the launch which held at the PEP store located inside Ikeja some of the invited guests had the opportunity to pay their monthly bills and purchase token to recharge their prepaid meters.

To pay for electricity bills at the designated PEP stores, prepaid and post-paid customers will provide their account number and make payment after which a receipt is issued for the transaction.