The beneficiaries have begun their studies in six schools – Premiere Academy, Abuja; Nigerian Turkish International College, Kaduna; St. Francis Catholic Secondary School, Lagos; Lead Forte Gate College, Lagos; Top Faith International Secondary School, Akwa Ibom Staten and Grundtvig International Secondary School, Anambra State.

These schools hosted the award ceremonies which were held on September 27, 2016 to signal the formal commencement of the scholarship programme. In an address at the award ceremony in Abuja, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, commended the cradle-to-career programme as a unique CSR initiative and urged other corporate bodies to emulate the gesture. He said the Federal Government would continue to implement holistic educational policies and enjoined the support of all stakeholders. The Minister was represented by Mrs. Abimbola Olamilokun (Deputy Director, Basic and Secondary Education).

The Director of Quality Assurance in the National Examinations Council (NECO) Dr. Ikechukwu Anyanwu said: “We played an active role in the selection process and we can attest that it was fair and transparent. The students who have come through represent the best of what we had from public secondary schools and we see them transforming to become leaders if they keep up with same spirit of hard work and commitment.” The Group General Manager, NAPIMS, Dafe Sejebor, who was represented by Supervisor, Community Development, Mrs. Bunmi Lawson restated the commitment of NNPC towards quality education and said they would continue to work with SNEPCo on initiatives that will help deliver quality social investment programmes to Nigerian children.

L-R: Social Performance Adviser, SNEPCo, Ibukun Adewale and Rep. Group GM, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Bunmi Lawson, presenting the award certificates to the scholars.

Earlier, the General Manager External Relations, Shell, Igo Weli had said: “I am particularly happy that, in spite of the low oil price in the global market and the economic challenges in the country, SNEPCo and its concessionaire, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and co-venturers, Esso Exploration and Production Company (Deepwater Ltd), Total E & P Nigeria Ltd and Nigerian Agip Exploration Ltd - ENI, have kept faith with our commitment to support Nigerian youths to attend some of the best secondary schools in the country. We do this because, to us in SNEPCo, education is key to national development; it is the answer to today’s challenges and an anchor for a better and brighter future.”

The beneficiaries and their parents described the Cradle-to-Career scholarship as a lifetime chance to better their lot, and commended NNPC and SNEPCo for the opportunity. SNEPCo launched the National Cradle-to-Career programme in 2014 to help to bridge educational inequalities resulting from geographic and socio-economic differences. The endeavour contributes towards the realisation of the UNESCO 'Education for All' goal. The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria operated joint venture also runs a cradle-to-career scholarship which is targeted at youths from the Niger Delta.

Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Exploration & Production Company Limited (SNEPCo), Mr. Bayo Ojulari.