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Hope for youths, power engineering with new internship scheme

For the first time in the annals of the privatised power sector, youths are getting a chance to take part in knowledge acquisition through an…

For the first time in the annals of the privatised power sector, youths are getting a chance to take part in knowledge acquisition through an internship scheme.

Just recently, the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), inducted 36 young engineers as it commenced the first phase of the one-year engineering graduate internship scheme.

NDPHC is an intervention agency in the power sector co-owned by the federal, states and local governments and funded from the Excess Crude Account (ECA).

Through the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), it develops assets in gas, power generation, transmission and distribution sections of the electricity value chain. It has also championed renewable energy after installing 20,000 Solar Home Systems (SHS) and an ongoing Light Up Naija (solar) programme.

NDPHC built 10 NIPP generation plants with eight already commissioned and an installed capacity of about 4,000 megawatts (MW). With its intervention in the power value chain, NDPHC is responsible for providing about half of generation and distribution infrastructure in Nigeria.

According to documents on the new NDPHC engineering internship scheme, the programme is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative that focuses on career growth and development for the Nigerian engineering graduates to work and learn for a period of twelve months.

According to the framework, participants are selected from the six geopolitical zones to take part in the programme during the 12 months period.

The young professionals garner experience across the power value chain; they are given the opportunity to move to work across different departments of power plants within the power plant during the period.

Nigeria with a population of 200 million people generates just under 5,000 Megawatts of power and it is rated one of the poorest in the world. According to the World Bank, one out every 10 persons globally without access to electricity lives in Nigeria.

Speaking during the orientation ceremony for the interns at the NDPHC headquarters in Abuja, the Executive Director, Corporate Services, NDPHC, Nkechi Mba, explained that 36 interns were selected from the six geopolitical zones across the country with each zone producing six.

Mba noted that the concept of the internship programme “is to enable graduates of engineering to have practical experience because we found out over the years that we had the best resources in NDPHC in terms of power sector engineering knowledge and we wanted to pass that on.”

Speaking further, she said the scheme will also help young engineering graduates to be able to access that knowledge that would give them an advantage in trying to find jobs in the sector or finding a career path.

“It is not really a recruitment exercise but because NDPHC has the largest power sector assets, the programme gives the graduates an advantage”, Mba added.

For the Executive Director, Generation at NDPHC, Engr. Kassim Abdullahi, the interns would be sent to the company’s NIPP power plants in Calabar, Benin, Sapele (Delta) and Omotosho (Ondo) power plants.

Engr. Abdullahi further said the power plants which are among the 10 Generation Companies (GenCos) owned by NDPHC, are very efficient and have contributed a lot to the national grid.

“The interns would learn a lot from participating in the daily activities of the plants including generation, troubleshooting, maintenance and a lot of things from the capable engineers we have at these stations”.

On her part, the General Manager, Human Resources, Mrs. Funke Nwankwo, said the NDPHC graduate internship programme is a corporate social responsibility programme aimed at improving manpower capacity for the power sector in Nigeria.

“It ensures that young engineering graduates get the right training from seasoned professionals across our power plants. They will get first hand interaction with how our power plants work in real life”, she added.

Participants at the induction ceremony were between the ages 18 and 26 years. One of them, Mohammed Abubakar, said he applied for the scheme last year after the company advertised it.

“I was then contacted for an online aptitude test and then we did an in-person oral interview. All the selection stages were competitive and transparent and I am happy that I am one of the 36 participants in this debut phase,” he noted.

Abubakar, an electrical engineer, looks forward to exploring the hands-on knowledge at the power plants. “We, youths have enough energy and are passionate about the power sector. We will surely make impact.”

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