Question: Madam, please what can you tell us about youth empowerment?
Mrs. Funmi: Over time I have discovered that most of the young engineers have not been empowered
enough. When you go to their schools, they ask you what engineering will do for them and I feel that in light of that we need to create some sort of internship for them whereby they will be able to get experience during or after their youth service We are also supposed to get placements for them for industrial attachment. We are supposed to organize a forum like a career fair for them where industries will talk to them, share experiences with them and conduct interviews for them for them to have that sense of belonging that engineering is doing something for them. We discovered that there is a big gap between the classroom and the industry right now. What they are taught in school is basically theory and the practical work is different from the theory they are taught in school. The Society has a duty to these young engineers to be able to bridge the gap between the classroom and the industry. Also we could create a mentorship programme where the young ones would have a senior engineer attached to them for some form of training, for advice, for skill development and acquisition.
Question: As a female engineer, what do you have to say to young female engineers?
Mrs. Funmi: Well as a female engineer, the first question is ‘who are you?’ If you don’t know who you are then you are going to run into problems at the office. If you look at the percentage now, it is about only five percent of the women in engineering that are successful. You will find out that a lot of women in engineering leave engineering to go into banking or other industries because they have not been able to know who they are to find their footing in engineering. It is important that
as a female engineer, you know who you are in engineering.
You should work without putting up barriers for yourself because you are a female. There is nothing like that in engineering. We are engineers and we are suppose to practice engineering the way it is. That means that you should be able to identify what you want to become in engineering, not just because you studied it in school. You should be able to work and interact with men as engineers.
E-Newsletter: Thank you madam.
Engr. Mrs. Funmi Akingbagbohun, is a Mechanical Engineers and a member of Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), A Fellow of Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers and A Member Nigerian Society of Engineers.She is also the current Chairperson Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Lagos State Chapter.
This interview was first published in NSE PH newsletter