THREE beneficiaries of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company’s (SNEPCo) scholarship in the United Kingdom (UK) have returned home after completing their studies.
They are Iwinosa Aghedo, Peace Adepoju and Oluwapelumi Okewusi. They studied Geotechnical Engineering and Hydrography on the sponsorship of SNEPCo, in collaboration with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
SNEPCo’s Managing Director, Bayo Olulari, said: “From less than 10 per cent Nigerian manpower when we started production at the Bonga field over 13 years ago, we have grown to over 95 per cent and the new scholarship initiative is targeted at further increasing the Nigerian content of our manpower.”
Speaking at a reception, Aghedo, said: “We promise to make the scholarship effective and be worthy ambassadors of the programme.” Her colleague, Miss Oluwapelumi Okewusi added: “Getting to the top is the easy part. Staying at the top is the hard work, we will put in the hard work.”
General Manager, Business and Government Relations of Shell Nigeria, Bashir Bello, said: “The scholarship is the outcome of a 2012 vision when SNEPCO and NCDMB agreed to sponsor three Nigerian students to postgraduate training in the United Kingdom to close identified gaps as part of NCDMB support for the SNEPCO Seabed Survey contract waiver in that year.”
Shell’s Nigerian Content Manager, Olanrewaju Olawuyi, said the three scholars were selected after a rigorous selection from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory and, that in the UK, the Nigerians received regular support through regular interactions and calls. “I am excited at the successful fit of the candidates,” he said.
The scholarship is part of the regular SPDC JV PostGraduate Scholarships scheme launched in 2010 to build a talent pipeline in host communities. It offers successful applicants scholarship for all the direct and indirect activities leading up to the award, cost of foreign education until return to Nigeria.
Since the launch, except for 2016, SPDC has awarded 10 full scholarships yearly for a one-year Master’s programme in oil and gas-related disciplines at top UK universities. So far, the scheme has recorded 79 beneficiaries.
The schemes are the most extensive private educational sponsorship initiative. Launched in 1953, the scholarships have evolved to cater for various educational categories of students, ensuring that every Nigerian child is given an opportunity to reach their potential irrespective of the family’s economic status.
Also, Shell supports the academia with other key programmes that include Centres of Excellence, Professorial Chairs, Shell Eco-Marathon, Sabbatical and Research Internship, Research Support, and Data Support.