APWEN Empowers Mentors to Boost Female Engineers’ Inclusion in Aviation, Automotive Sectors
The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) recently held the SheEngineer 30% Club mentors training workshop, aimed at improving diversity and inclusion of female engineers in organisations in the aviation, automotive and energy sectors.
The initiative, funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK, will also drive profitability, productivity, creativity and reduce skills shortage by encouraging more girls to take up engineering courses and careers.
Speaking during the virtual programme, the Project Manager, Dr. Felicia Agubata noted that APWEN was committed to achieving a 30 per cent minimum gender balance within their workforce by 2030 using a 30 by 30 strategy (a commitment to allocate 30 per cent positions to women in engineering in these organisations yearly).
According to her, “the project will improve and strengthen the internal capacity of APWEN to tackle gender inequality in the engineering sector, build up an engineering talent pipeline with the necessary skills to respond to local challenges, as well as expand and give more visibility and awareness on the phase three project; SheEngineer; Invent It, Build It which will Influence employers to retain, promote and support talented women and also create positive workplaces through training in equality and diversity issues and support the development and implementation of gender inclusion policies.”
She disclosed that 100 female engineers will be reached, mentored and adopted into the club, while 300 participants will benefit from various capacity building programmes hosted by the club.
“Several organisations will be enlisted and certified as ‘SheEngineer 30% Club Certified.”
In her remarks, the President of APWEN, Dr. Elizabeth Eterigho expressed concern about the shortage of young engineers to up the spaces/vacancies in the engineering workforce, saying that it could be a major socio-economic crisis in Nigeria if attention is not paid to the sector.
“In the universities for example, there are some departments with none or few female engineer(s) as lecturer, yet the department turns out female engineering students on a yearly basis. It therefore, becomes necessary for total implementation of the APWEN diversity and inclusion policy which was an outcome of the first engagement with the Royal Academy,” she said.
One of the missions of the association, she stated, is to increase the number of practicing female engineers at all levels and to encourage women to achieve professional excellence as engineers and leaders.
She commended Agubata, the grant awardee for securing it under the phase four African catalyst grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK.
A mechanical and manufacturing engineer and quality/project management, University of West of Scotland, Dr. Evil Viza, who spoke on ‘Mentoring Skills for Effective Mentorship Engagements’ emphasised on the role mentors play, saying that they need to open doors for feedback, manage risks, listening actively, identifying goals and current reality saying these will go a long way in helping to carry along their mentees.
A Social Development Strategist, New York, USA, Ms. Ugochi Obidiegwu, who spoke on ‘Effective Communication Skills for Mentors’, noted that mentors should be a bridge builder, transfer expertise and be part of a legacy that would be beneficial to their mentees.