For the crumb mixture, in a large bowl blend shortening, sugar and vanilla. Sift flour, soda, and salt and add to bowl. Add the oatmeal; work well with hands. Press 1/2 of the mixture onto a medium greased cooking sheet, pressing down firmly.
For the apricot filling, put the pitted dates, dried apricots, brown sugar, and apricot nectar in a sauce pan and cook for about 5 minutes until thick. Stir constantly as it can easily burn. The apricot nectar should evaporate while it cooks. Cool slightly (about 5 minutes) before spreading on crumb mixture. Once cool, spread apricot mixture on top of the crumb mixture. Top with the rest of the crumb mixture, pressing down firmly. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is brown. Cool before cutting and serving.