By Funmi Ogundare
The Association of Professional Women in Engineering (APWEN) recently held its town and gown mentoring/career fair, themed ‘Industry-focused Capacity Building’, for young engineers, as part of efforts to bridge the gap between the academia and the industry.
During a virtual programme, undergraduate engineering students were linked to mentors from the oil and gas, manufacturing, energy, telecoms, construction companies, among others, according to their field of interest.
The town and gown mentoring programme, sponsored by Worley Foundation, Australia, featured the mentoring of students on how to build a career and be equipped with the required skills to function effectively.
In her remarks, the President of the association, Mrs. Funmilola Ojelade expressed delight about bringing the young engineers together to meet with mentors that will enlighten them on what it takes to be employed and the skills required of them.
“They are expected to ask questions and seek clarifications. This, we believe will place them at a vantage position to be employed,” she said.
The Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule, who declared the programme open, commended APWEN for its laudable initiative, while appealing to the young engineers to make the best use of the opportunity.
He expressed delight that more women are now being given the opportunity to practice the profession, unlike in the past when it was male dominated.
He urged the association to establish a partnership with Dangote Academy so as to further boost skills training.
The Director, Public Affairs, Worley Foundation, Ms. Sue Brown described engineering as that which has the possibility of improving the economy and creating prosperity, adding that the foundation has over the years, been supporting STEM education and improving careers for women.
“We are excited about the programme and how it can help promote female engineers in Nigeria,” she said.
She advised young female engineers to be confident in themselves, take calculated risk, be flexible and adaptable.
The Managing Director, Delta Afrik, Mr. Akin Odumakin, who was represented by the Head of Strategy of the organisation, Mr. Bimbo Onaolapo, said it is passionate about developing local capacity, while pledging its support towards helping young engineers to build their career.
According to him, “we are here to support you. You need to plan yourselves and look for mentors that can help you in the industry. You should not give up.”
He encouraged them to put what they learnt into practice, saying that though women are bound to face challenges in the industry, giving up should not be an option.
In his keynote address, the General Manager, Worley Academy, Mr. Miles O’Connor said young engineers should be more concerned about networking with people, adding that aside enhancing their work performance, it will help in growing their businesses and improve their personal success.
“You need to deliberately choose like-minded and successful people, think long term, follow up and meet again,” he said.
He said companies usually hire people who are proactive, optimistic, have attitudes to learn, can motivate and are loyal, adding that they need to demonstrate these and be motivated to learn by reading books.