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L-R: Engr. Tunde Elesin, Engr.Nkechi Isigwe, Engr. olufunke Akinkurolere, Engr.Dr. Elizabeth Eterigho, Mr Robert Azibaola, Engr. Oyindamola Onigbogi, Ms Ezinwa Nwanguma

By Ebunoluwa Sessou

Young Engineers have been urged to take advantage of mentorship and training as parts of tools to prepare themselves for the task ahead in order to achieve professional excellence as engineers and leaders.

The charge was made at the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria, APWEN’s Town and Gown Mentoring /Career Fair for Young Engineers.

The theme, Industry-Focused Capacity Building, sponsored by Worley and partnered by Zeetin, TRANOS, FMN, NBC, Chevron, P&G, Savannah Energy, Builders Resources, was to bridge the gap between young engineers and the industry, particularly the female engineering graduates and undergraduate female students in engineering.

Speaking during her opening remarks, President of APWEN, Engr. Elizabeth Eterigho FNSE, FNSChE disclosed that, the ‘Town and Gown’ is offer quality mentorship to young female engineers and undergraduate female students in engineering, adding that it creates a pool of “ready-now” female engineers for the industry and excellent ground for the recruitment of bright young talents.

It also serves as a mechanism to assist the Nation in attaining Sustainable Development Goals, she said.

According to her, “The first series started in 2020 through 2021 comprised of STEM Education, Diversity & Inclusion Projects that impacted communities in the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.

“This is the second edition for this year but the first physical edition. In the first edition which was virtual, we had ninety-six participants in attendance. The feedback, of the Town and Gown programs thus far, has shown an impact on the young engineers in terms of job placement among the various industries”, she added.

The Keynote speaker, Engr Azibaola Robert ESQ, FNSE, Chairman and Managing Director Kakatar Group and Founder Zeetin Engineering Limited disclosed that engineering, technology and science are the bedrock of development.

Robert who is the Patron of APWEN, noted that although prayer is essential it is important that Nigerians uphold the spirit of hard work, resilience and creativity using their brains to invent things adding that, the age of spirituality has gone.

“There is an age of spirituality and there is an age of invention. And Nigeria ought to have moved from the age of spirituality to the age of invention. And that is the only thing that would sustain the nation otherwise; Nigeria will be a dependent nation even with the fifth or sixth generation after.

“I am encouraging Nigerians to think both within and outside the box and see how we can rescue our community. The problem of Nigeria is that we are import dependent. Whereas everything we import, can be made in Nigeria if we put ourselves together.

“The most important thing is to encourage young engineers to be passionate. Once you are passionate about something, you will get through. You can be the first to start it and there is nothing wrong in starting first.

“If we wait for the old generation to encourage us in doing things, we might not succeed. Whether or not we are encouraged, the upcoming engineers should encourage themselves.

“If you start something and cannot finish it, someone else would take it over and at the end, there would be success stories.

“That was how the most industrialized nations including China, Japan started. They started from fake goods to original goods. Right now, we cannot say that Chinese or Japanese goods are not original.

“Young Nigerian engineers should turn all the garages to engineering workshops and build engineers, handsets which contain basic information rather than importing. If we do that, then the nation would bounce back, otherwise, it will be going backwards.

In his contribution, Deputy Managing Director, DeltaAfrik Tunde Eleshin, also advised the students who do not believe in working hard to retrace their steps.

“Many people are in the media space seemingly making quick money which is not sustainable. Even if you win a lottery of one million dollars, you can blow it in a month because it is not sustainable. If you invest the one million into something that is sustainable, then you have done well.

“The engineers have the potential. They have the creative ability to add innovation to what they are doing. Today, Nigeria produces cocoa but we import chocolate. Nigeria is not converting the cocoa to finished goods for consumption.

“There are tons of materials in the country that are wasting and so, I encourage the young engineers to be innovative. They do not need anything special, all they need is to apply themselves to their environment.

“Seven years from now, what will our engineers be doing? If they do not do anything, it will be the same and that would be pathetic. We have an opportunity to make progress”, he said.

Immediate past Rector, Ogun State Institute of Technology, Igbesa, Engr. Olufunke Akinkurolere, FNSE, who spoke on “Essentials indeed in the Gown for Igniting the Town”, said, there is need to overhaul the curriculum particularly in the polytechnics, technical institutions and other tertiary institutions in Nigeria for engineering courses.

According to her, vocational training, entrepreneurship among others should be part of the curriculum that would help the students to be relevant in town.

Also, Director, Human Resources and Medicals, Chevron, represented by the Project and Technical Service Manager, Engr. Oyinda Onigbogi advised the young engineers on positive attitude, emotional intelligence, networking, diversity inclusion and equity.

Speaking on the prerequisite to ignite your gown into the entrepreneurial world, Representative of the Builders Resource Nigeria Limited, Ms. Ezinwa Nwanguma said, engineering entrepreneurship is the process of harnessing the business opportunities in engineering and turning it into profitable commercially viable innovation.

“In reality, engineering and entrepreneurship are related in the sense that entrepreneurship is the process of harnessing the different opportunities in the field of engineering. Engineering requires comprehensive planning; entrepreneurship will offer better management of the engineering resources so that they can be properly utilized for wealth creation.

“Entrepreneurship will provide the needed marketing expertise, proper accounting practices, solid business operations, and administrative knowledge that will nurture a technological idea into wealth.

She urged the young engineers to always think big in order to attain the kind of success that they need to become relevant in their profession.

“Every success in life starts with big dreams/big ideas. You need to have big dreams for yourself- whether you want to be somebody that is rich, famous or fulfilled. One needs to have a clear vision of what he wants to achieve. But it doesn’t stop in dreaming alone. One should actually visualize success in one’s mind that makes you feel it, touch it or feel that it is within reach.

“At every opportunity one gets, he/she should always play this image back. What does it feel to triple your current income? How will your life change? What will your business look like if you achieved the million Naira or Dollar mark”?, she asked.

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