We’re not committed to first class graduate trainees, others – Chevron

Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) has refuted claims by some protesting trainees that the company dashed their hope, five years after promising to employ them.

The company, in a statement on Friday, said the training in question was a Corporate Social Responsibility, adding that it was not a pathway to employment in the oil company.

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PUNCH Metro had reported that some trainees of the company took to the Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos, to protest against what they described as enslavement by the oil company.

The protesters were said to have come from the Escravos Gas to Liquid Plant and other Chevron field operations in the Niger Delta.

Of the 151 affected trainees, about 30 were said to be first class graduates, while others reportedly left their executive positions in other companies to join Chevron after scaling the highly competitive selection process.

The trainees, some of whom joined the Vocational Training Programme (VTP 5) in 2013, claimed that four sets which underwent the training before them, had been employed.

They alleged that after the two years’ training, Chevron not only denied them employment, but refused to issue them certificates.

The protesters said they had nothing to show for the five years that they worked for the company, adding that the firm had continued to roll out training contracts.

The General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Chevron Nigeria Limited, E. O. Brikinn, said the company only sponsored the training.

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He said, “Chevron Nigeria Limited, operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation /CNL Joint Venture, is an equal opportunities employer and does not undertake employment decisions on the basis of race, gender, religion, colour, age, ethnicity, disability etc. Employment into the company is dependent on organisational requirements and business needs.

“CNL’s sponsorship of the Vocational Training Programme was a corporate social responsibility initiative intended to help build the skills and capacity of the VTP trainees from the local communities in various areas of oil and gas operations. Trainees spend a portion of their time in this programme attached to a CNL facility.

“The technical skills that the VTP trainees are equipped with are transferrable and therefore, the trainees are capable of contributing to the oil and gas industry and various other sectors of the Nigerian economy. Several of the VTP trainees have been able to get employment within the oil and gas industry. The VTP was never and is still not intended to serve as a pathway to employment in CNL for the VTP trainees. CNL never made any commitment in this regard to the VTP trainees. CNL will continue to encourage qualified persons to apply to the company for employment, whenever there are vacancies.”

One of the trainees, Lawal Solomon, who reacted on behalf of the group, said the company’s claims were false.

He said, “There was no point during the training when we were told that it was a CSR; how will you advise career-oriented people and first class graduates to resign their work and careers to settle for a CSR?

“Most CSRs have duration after which the candidates are released to go; how come Chevron did not release certificates to the trainees and continued using them in their facilities?

“Most trainees were trained for specific job roles in CNL operations, which is not in line with the claim that the skills are transferable; many of the trainees were converted from their initial fields at will by CNL to fill openings that needed workers.

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“There are trainees who were trained as operators, but ended up as maintenance technicians after completing the training. Some trainees were converted to operators after being trained as technicians.

“If this is actually a CSR, how come their operation and maintenance training governance model developed by CNL and the Dragnet Advert that many applied for does not describe the programme as a CSR?”

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