APWEN Builds Capacity of Engineers

Funmi Ogundare​

In partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK, the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) recently held a SheEngineer 30 per cent club capacity-building workshop for professional engineers to strengthen​ the skills and abilities of members.

Speaking during a virtual meeting,​ the president of the association, Dr Elizabeth Eterigho, noted that it believes in gender equality and has decided to change the narration of underrepresentation of women in leadership positions by championing the integration and implementation of 30 per cent females in leadership position using the aviation, automobile and energy sectors as a pilot engineering organisation.​

She noted that developing the capacity of members cannot be overemphasised given the challenges associated with leadership positions, particularly in a male-dominated workplace like engineering.​ ​

“Gender-sensitive policies in the workplace are key to creating a safe and respectful work environment,” she stated.​ “APWEN, through this workshop sponsored by the Royal​ Academy of UK, has put in place strategic machinery to achieve gender equality and empower all women in engineering into leadership positions at all levels and prepare the young engineers for such responsibilities.”

Eterigho added that by building or developing “ourselves, we are showing the way through our chosen fields, to the rising generation of women and men, that our gender should not be an excuse when it comes to contributing to local and national development through leadership positions.”

The association’s UK partner, Dr Evi Visa of the University of Scotland, who spoke on ‘Capacity Building for Practicing Engineers’, advised the engineers to have a self-assessment by identifying their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for any project they plan to embark on. This, she added, would enable them to evaluate their professional interests, knowledge and skills.

“Creating a self-assessment allows you to examine your current position as it relates to your career goals. When you determine the skills and interests​ you currently possess, you can identify areas in which you can improve to obtain your goals,” said Visa.​

She stated that they could also create time and deadlines for their goals and invest money in their skills by acquiring professional qualifications and joining professional bodies.​

“Learning is not always happening in the classroom or in a work environment. It is often happening outside, in the community or through a project aligned with our principles,” Visa noted.

In her remarks, the Programme Manager of SheEngineer 30% Club, Dr Felicia Agubata, said the association planned to drive profitability, productivity, and creativity and reduce skills shortage by encouraging more girls to take up STEM-based careers, create positive workplaces through training in equality and diversity issues and support the development and implementation of gender inclusion policies, as well as build up an engineering talent pipeline with the necessary skills to respond to local challenges.

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