The Principal Consultant, Lonadek, Dr. Ibilola Amao has called on the federal government to pay more attention to the promotion of science projects, community development initiatives, research and development that are driven by public, private partnerships as a way of ensuring a merit-based human capital investment for sustainable economic development.
Amao made this known at the 26th career counselling, industry awareness and youth empowerment workshop organised by the Vision 2020 Youth Empowerment and Restoration Initiative (YERI) team for students in Lagos with the theme â€˜Transforming Nigeria through STEM Educationâ€™.
She stressed the need to empower Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teachers and lecturers, as well as to establish centres of excellence, hubs, clusters, trade parks and innovation centres.
While highlighting the importance of STEM to national development and socio-economic transformation, she said the vision 2020 initiative was borne out of Lonadekâ€™s conviction to fill the gap in the career counselling, industry awareness and youth empowerment.
â€œWe at Lonadek have committed ourselves to act as agents of positive change by partnering government, private sector, our clients, colleagues and friends to empower youths and restore hope in Nigeria where the abundance of natural, mineral and human resources has not been of maximum benefit to the masses.â€
She said the initiative is aimed at making youths productive and empowering them to pursue fruitful and rewarding engagements in different vocations, as well as to make them entrepreneurs. â€œWe see entrepreneurship and the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as a way out of joblessness whilst solving societal problems.
â€œIn our own systematic manner, we have been consistent in trying to identify the brightest and best students who would be driven by a patriotic passion to transform the narrative of lack and poverty in Nigeria into one of abundance and wealth.â€
Amao, who is a vital voice in Global Ambassador Programme (GAP) 2017 mentee, said her commitment to women and girls in STEM is unwavering.
â€œI am determined to work tirelessly to raise young leaders that will accelerate the development and transformation of Nigeria into a great nation. The vision 2020 platform allows us solicit for support for the unknown, intelligent, focused, hardworking and determined Nigerian children, whose parents may not be able to sponsor them to the best higher institutions.â€
The Executive Director, Gas Business, Total E and P Nigeria Limited, Mr. Olubunmi Obembe, who congratulated Amao and her team for the initiative, said the programme has over the years left indelible impact on the lives of the youths, most of whom have become scientists, doctors, engineers and technicians at home and abroad. â€œThe theme of todayâ€™s event is also quite apt. This is so appropriate because we are living in extraordinary times when technology is changing the way we do things. New breakthroughs in information technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology are changing not only how the world is connected, but also how things are done; how wars are fought and won; and how we do business with each other in an ever shrinking global marketplace.
â€œMany professions are fast disappearing and many new ones are springing up. The internet, Facebook, Twitter and other social media devices have practically turned the world to a global village. The impact of these is huge and only those nations that recognise the possibilities and opportunities in the horizon will be in a position to dominate the world of the 21st century.â€
Meanwhile, the organisation hosted senior secondary school students, university and polytechnic undergraduates, as well as youth corps members to a one-day workshop, where industry professionals made presentations in line with the theme.
The presentations focused on â€˜Importance of STEM Education in Nigeriaâ€™; â€˜Youth in Leadership and Entrepreneurship in STEMâ€™, among others.