Bristow Helicopters Nigeria Limited has announced that it is investing $500m (about N75bn) in the training of 20 cadet pilots.
According to the company, the investment, which covers a training period of one year, is part of its contribution to the growth and development of the aviation industry in Nigeria.
The Managing Director of Bristow, Captain Akin Oni, who announced this in a meeting on Monday, said the company took the issue of human capital development seriously, adding that it was its way of giving back to the society.
He said that the 20 cadet helicopter pilots would be sent for a year training proramme at the aviation training colleges in Ilorin and Zaria before moving on to the academy run by the Bristow Group in Florida, the United States.
He said, “This programme has become a ritual to this company. We do this every year, and we began the programme about 30 years ago. We used to train about 10 to 15 young Nigerians, but we have increased the number to 20 this year, because we want to ensure that we touch more lives and give these people a secured future.
“After training, these pilots will be retained by the company, and we are doing this primarily to replace the expatriates in the Nigerian aviation industry. We are not comfortable with the fact that a lot of expatriates seem to be taking most of the jobs in our industry and this is the reason why we are investing so much to ensure that Nigerians have the opportunity to grow their careers and even work outside the country.”
Oni said that about $250,000 would be spent on each of the cadets, adding that the parents were expected to sign a bond form on behalf of their children to keep tabs on them.