Airbus Foundation Brings Youth Devt Programme to Africa

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Chinedu Eze
In line with its youth development programme in Africa launched in July 2017, the Airbus Foundation and its partners, The Little Engineer and STEM METS Resources have rolled out a series of Airbus Little Engineer workshops in Nigeria and trained more than 1,000 school students across the country.

The goal of the programme is to encourage students to understand and embrace technology and ignite a passion that could grow into an exciting career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
To celebrate this milestone, the partners invited distinguished guests to attend the Airbus Little Engineer A380 workshop organised for 30 students at the Methodist Girls’ High School in Lagos.

The four-hour A380 workshop saw students aged between 13-15 years focusing on identifying various aircraft parts and enhancing understanding of both the manufacturing and assembling processes of the world’s largest passenger aircraft. The students also got an opportunity to build an A380 scale model from scratch – from initial programing to understanding full take-off functionality of the aircraft.

Executive Director of the Airbus Foundation, Andrea Debbane said: “Having already trained more than 1,000 students in such a short time is a remarkable achievement and I would like to thank STEM METS Resources for their dedication and efforts. Investments in education and training are essential in building an educated and skilled workforce. The goal of the Airbus youth development program is to support the countries’ efforts in creating a sustainable pipeline of talent for Africa.”

Founder of STEM METS Resources, Jadesola Adedeji, said: “We are very proud of our partnership with the Airbus Foundation, the Airbus Little Engineer program is such a unique learning opportunity. These popular workshops are designed to channel students’ potential, encouraging them to use science, technology, and mathematics in an exciting and engaging, team work approach. It is also a great pride an achievement for me as a Nigerian. We want nothing more than for children in Nigeria to have access to innovative and alternative means of learning using and also creating an environment where STEM education will be embraced and enhanced in our society.

Adedeji said Africa has the fastest-growing and most youthful population in the world, furthermore the continent has developed an ‘innovation’ culture that is growing fast with many social entrepreneurs, local non-profit organisations and the Airbus Foundation wants to support and work with them. It is important that all stakeholders join efforts to facilitate access to STEM skills as the youth will be the driving force behind sustainable growth across the continent.
Since its launch in 2012, the Airbus Little Engineer programme has successfully positioned itself as an effective vehicle for discovery-based learning, working to enlighten and empower youth in the areas of science and technology through robotics and aerospace. As of now, the programme has reached over 4,000 students.

Rwand Air Begins Abuja / Kigali Flight Service
Rwanda’s national carrier, Rwand Air at the weekend flagged off its Abuja/ Kigali flights, ready to provide service to passengers from Nigeria’s political capital and giving them the opportunity to connect to its global route network.
The airline is also operating its daily Lagos /Kigali flights, so it now flies to two destinations in Nigeria.
The four weekly service according to its Country Manager, Ms. Ibiyemi Odusi would now provide opportunity for government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and other players in the public and private sector to connect flight from Abuja directly to other routes on the airline’s network.

Speaking at the inaugural flight in Abuja, Odusi said the new flight service was positioned to allow Nigerians have more travel options from the nation’s political capital to destinations flown by Rwand Air.
Odusi said that Nigerian passengers would benefit from the route network flown by Rwand Air from Abuja.
She said with right product pricing , scheduling planning and other unique selling points at the disposal of Rwand Air, it intends to grow traffic on the route to about 80 per cent load factor in the next six months.

Odusi said since Rwand Air started operations to Nigeria, it has continued to consolidate from its hub in Kigali to Dubai, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Entebbe, Dar es Salaam, Accra, London, Brussels and other routes on its network.
She said the Abuja / Kigali four weekly flights would open vista of opportunity for passengers who want to connect to many parts of the world by leveraging on the carrier’s on time performance.

She also thanked the Minister of States for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other top government officials for making the day’s inaugural flight a success.

Also speaking, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Stanislas Kamanzi said the extension of flight service between Abuja and Kigali would boost trade relations between the two countries.
He said the Abuja / Kigali service would now provide seamless travel window for diplomats and government officials, investors and private sector players who want to explore opportunities for trade, commerce and other bilateral activities.
Kamanzi lauded aviation and diplomatic authorities for granting the right permits and approvals that has led to the consolidation of flights between the two countries.

Also speaking at the event, International Terminal Manager, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Abuja Airport, Hajara Musa assured that the authority would assist Rwand Air in every area that would make its operations smooth.
She said FAAN will continue to provide the necessary facilities that would make the airline have seamless services out of Abuja Airport as it continues to do for all airlines.