THE Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has awarded post graduate scholarships to ten students in its areas of operation in the Niger Delta to study in the United Kingdom for their masters’ degree programme.
The recipients include, six from Delta State, three from Rivers State and one from Bayelsa State.
The lucky beneficiaries are to study engineering courses related to the oil and gas industry at the Imperial College London, University of Leeds and University College, London.
Speaking at the award/farewell ceremony for the 2012 beneficiaries of the scheme held in Yenagoa, the company’s Vice President, Sustainable Development/Community Relations and Communication, Mr. Tony Attah, said the scheme was part of the company’s drive to grow the talent in the Niger Delta for the oil and industry. Thirty indigenes of the region, he said, had so far benefitted from the SPDC Niger Delta Post-Graduate Scholarship Scheme since its inception three years ago. ”This award ceremony is the third edition and we are delighted to have two women out of ten beneficiaries. Last year, we had only two ladies also, one of who was a Bayelsa State indigene,” he said.
According to him, Bayelsa was chosen as the host state for the 2012 edition because of the low participation of students of the state origin due to low level awareness of the programme in the state.
He said, “This year, we have only one person from Bayelsa State featuring in the scheme. This underscores SPDC’s deliberate consideration for a Bayelsa location, and the reason why we have chosen to hold this year’s ceremony in the Niger Delta University in Bayelsa State.”
Mr. Attah who was represented by the Government and Community Relations Manager, Mr. Funkakpo Fufyin, urged students of the state origin to read harder and avail themselves the opportunity offered by the scheme in subsequent edition.
”We are optimistic that our visit today would publicize this scheme to the academic community, final year Engineering students, parents, guardians and education policy makers such that in coming years we shall see a step change in the participation of Bayelsans.
”We therefore urged all students present to take advantage of this scheme which is available at the websites of the three aforementioned UK universities,” he said.
He assured that beneficiaries who distinguished themselves in the course of their studies would be offered automatic employment by the company.