By Willie Samson
Lanre Shittu Motors says it has taken many dropouts and area boys out of the streets through its auto skill training and employment scheme for school leavers.
The auto firm has also extended similar but advanced training skills to young graduates interested in pursuing careers in automotive industry. In total, the frontline auto industry player stated that over 450 of such Nigerians have benefitted from the scheme in about seven years.
This include school leavers and graduates.
Taiwo Shittu, executive director of Lanre Shittu Motors, who disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Lagos, said part of the empowerment scheme of the auto company is to help beneficiaries secure decent jobs with good salaries.
He said, “The company has contributed a lot to the Nigerian economy especially when it comes to manpower training and empowerment of young Nigerians. We have an empowerment scheme for school leavers who have passion for automotive development.
They are trained for a period of four years and get paid even while on training.
“After the training, we send them to our customers across the country to service them. We ask them to be employed, accommodated and paid well. In some cases, they are given a car and placed on a good salary that we dictate. We are getting good testimonies from those we sent to Kano, Bauchi, Ondo and Cross River states, among others. These are people that would have been bus conductors, touts or motor boys, now heading a facility of 300 to 500 trucks.”
Lanre Shittu also said, “We have some people sending interested young graduates and school leavers to us for training. For instance, Desmond Elliot, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, sent 10 people from his Surulere constituency to us for the scheme.”
He called on the Nigerian government at various levels to invest and utilise the abundant, but untapped local skills, especially among the youth to develop the automotive assembly industry, stressing that Nigerians have the skills but need the support of the government, and that this is what will make the industry to develop.
Shittu urged the current generation of leaders to invest and make sacrifice for the development of the next generation just like the Chinese did, adding: “In those days, many people looked down on the Chinese and derided them for looking haggard and wretched. What they did not know was that, they were making sacrifice for the current generation. Today, the China’s story has changed. Nigeria also needs to do the same.”