The Managing Director, Delta Afrik, Mr. Akinwunmi Odumakinde has stressed the need for young engineers to take advantage of emerging future trends and ensure that they build their capacity and have people that will mentor them to greatness.
Ogunmakinde made this known during the maiden edition of the south-west town and gown Zoom mentoring/career fair for young engineers, with the theme, ‘Industry-focused Capacity Building’, organised by the Association of Professional Women Engineers (APWEN) and sponsored by Worley Foundation, Australia.
It was aimed at bridging the employability gap between young female engineering graduates and the industry, as well as create a pool of ready-now female engineers for the industry, among other objectives.
He advised them to pursue their dreams and ensure that they are equipped with the right skills that will make them compete favourably in an emerging society.
In his keynote address, he stressed the importance of capacity building, saying that the labour market is saturated with unemployed graduates because they lack the basic skill sets such as communication, confidence and ability to compete, among others.
“As an engineer, you need to build your capacity through self-improvement and benchmark your skill set, you need to put in place a proper implementation plan and learn new things that further enhance capacity building.
“The future is now, you must be prepared, push forward and embrace mentoring for a lasting impact. Remember if you cannot see it, you cannot have it. You must have a mission and a vision, and identify a new market.”
He expressed concern about the percentage of women engineers, saying that they are in the minority and occupy about 22 per cent in the country due to the instability of government policy and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic which has affected how work is being done.
While commending APWEN for bridging the employability gap through the town and gown initiative, he appealed to the members to identify problems in the industry and profer solutions to them, as well as mentor young engineers by giving them the platform to make impact.
The Governor of Osun State, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, who declared the programme open, described the online edition as noble, adding that mentoring and capacity building are the basis of a sustainable future and way to go in bridging the transformation gap between the classroom and the industry.
He appealed to the leadership of APWEN to continue to encourage mentoring and leadership among young engineers who should also upgrade their skills.
The President of the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), Babagana Mohammed emphasised the importance of the town and gown mentoring programme, while stressing the need to groom upcoming engineers.
“Town and gown is key, we can’t afford to hand over our society to those we don’t trust, but to groom those who will take over from us, which is key. Mentoring is the beginning of wisdom.
He commended the leadership of APWEN for the initiative, saying that even as engineers, they could expand their thinking and horizon rather than having to depend on their certificate alone.
“It is no longer business as usual because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can make money out of it. Female engineers are more re!iable than their male counterparts, so they must be given the required knowledge to be employable. We need to close the gap and that can only happen through mentoring.”
A council member and Director, Corporate Affairs, Worley Foundation, Australia, Sue Brown said the foundation recognises that engineering can transform the lives of people and the economy in general which will bring about prosperity.
“At Worley, we support STEM because we believe that without engineers and scientists, our company will not exist. It is important that we have a diverse pool of engineers coming through.”
She expressed excitement about the programme, saying that engineers could take their career to anywhere or level they want to, and that they must have confidence in themselves.
She recommended that women engineers should take calculated risks in their career and be flexible.
The town and gown project put together by the Grant Administrator and a staff of Delta Afrik, Mrs. Bosede Oyekunlewa is among the five successful initiatives on STEM projects, diversity and inclusion to impact communities chosen by Worley Foundation for sponsorship.