Benin Electricity Distribution Plc. (BEDC) has consolidated the milestone it recorded in 2015 as it turned out over 200 graduate trainees and technicians under the 2nd set of its Graduate Trainee Programme (GTP) scheme and first set of Technician Trainee Program (TTP) designed to help BEDC to provide better services to customers.
At a recent ceremony held in Benin, the Managing Director/CEO, Mrs. Funke Osibodu highlighted several milestones achieved as BEDC continues in its journey to improve customer service delivery experience across franchise areas of Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti States.
‘”We have implemented series of network improvement initiatives and resolved the backlog of metering requests at takeover having installed close to 150,000 meters”, she said, adding that BEDC has added new injection substations to provide relief to overloaded network, resolved a lot of customer complaints and provided several distribution transformers.
The firm she said has also constructed dedicated distribution lines for high end customers. In addition, several customers of BEDC now enjoy better power supply with time and period of availability well known and predictable.
The CEO said that BEDC was the first distribution company (Disco) to demonstrate unalloyed commitment to using young trainees to change the power sector and take the company into new realms of power distribution.
She said the trainees were well rounded, knowledgeable and fit to lead the revolution expected in fulfilment of the core objective of the power sector privatization, adding that the programme was the end result of a fruitful partnership between Vigeo Power Academy-core investor in BEDC and Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, Akure, Ondo state.
The objective of the academy she explained, was to train and groom existing and newly recruited young engineers, computer scientists, and other analytical graduates as well as non-graduate technicians for BEDC on the knowledge and best technical and practices for meeting and exceeding the expectations of the customers in the power industry.
In his goodwill message, Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki enlisted BEDC for the training of 2000 technicians within the next four years to complement the state government’s creation of 2,000 jobs.
“We like what you (BEDC) are doing. We will like you to consider expanding the programme by collaborating with the Benin Technical College (BTC),”Governor Obaseki stated, adding that the state government will provide the facilities for the training over the next four years of a minimum of over 2,000 technicians, saying that the details shall be worked out.
While congratulating BEDC on the initiative on human capital development, the governor noted that “the most important investment BEDC has made is investment in manpower which is a right step in the right direction.”
Chairman of BEDC board, Mr. Victor Gbolade Osibodu highlighted the fact that the power sector is a technical engineering cum commercial industry and thus it was imperative that huge investment be made on training the workers, describing training as the software of any enterprise.
As a distribution company he noted that BEDC is the face of the power sector value chain hence the need to build capacity through continuous training of staff to be able to meet up with customer expectations and manpower needs of the electricity supply industry.
In his own goodwill message, Acting Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Dr Vincent Akpotaire remarked that the process of any effective development program may be slow, but stressed that with BEDC experience, success could be achieved in the power sector if all parties involved in the value chain work together.
Dr Akpotaire said BPE had in recent times been criticized over the privatization of the power sector as some stakeholders were expecting quick results, arguing that 40 to 50 years of neglect could not be resolved within just three years post privatization, adding “it will be impossible and irresponsible to start thinking of setting the clocks backward. My take is that success can be achieved in this sector, if all parties work together.”
Also speaking, a Director of BEDC, Engr. Akinwumi Bada said with the graduate trainee scheme, BEDC future was assured, saying that the programme was ostensibly designed to fill some gaps in manpower training in the power sector.
Engr. Bada pointed out that BEDC has sent the trainees on a message, and declared that the first step towards delivering the message in a proper manner was through the education imparted on the trainees through the field experience and the theoretical training received at Elizade University,
Three trainees namely, Ogbe Eric, Emeka Ogunna and Femi Fashola emerged as outstanding trainees at the graduation.
The first Graduate Trainee programme in 2015 saw the admission of 121 graduates who were ready to learn and play critical roles in the power sector.