The Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers, a Division of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Lagos State Chapter has recently organised Skill Workshop for young Engineers in Lagos. The event which was attended by graduates of Engineering as well as student representatives from 4 various Universities from both Lagos and Ogun state was a massive success.
The discussion panel was led by Engr Peters Egbobe, Construction Supervisor, Total Upstream Nigeria. He delivered the keynote address titled ” Bridging the Skill Gap in Mechanical Engineering.” Others are Engr Dr. Jubril Adeyemo, a former Chairman NIMechE Lagos Chapter and Engr Ibiyemi Micheal, who presented “Introduction to Onshore Pipeline Engineering Design.”
The Chapter Chairperson, Engr Mrs Funmi Akingbagbohun, who chaired the event underscored the purpose of the workshop when she noted that the Engineering body is determined to ensure that our younger graduates are equipped with relevant skills needed to earn them successful career in the profession. He urged all participants to make the best use of the opportunity.
As part of the event, the Nigerian Railway Corporation management, which provided the venue for the gathering, offered the participants the opportunity to undertake the tour of the Corporation Facilities. Participants were led to selected workshops and addressed by engineers on duty.
Engr. Peter Egbobe in his presentation took the participants into the history of industrialization in Nigeria and today’s reality. as he delivered his lecture as a guest lecturer in the Workshop / seminar organized for students and graduate members of NIMechE. Engr. Peter encouraged students to acquire skills that will make them be in command of their chosen field of practice.
He noted that in 1960’s and 70’s Industrialization capacity was low, while the need for skill was very low and skilled manpower was in short supply. The few persons that had education were heads of the private and public organisations.However, in the 80’s and 90’s industries were sprouting, following the oil boom -Steel, oil and gas, foods and beverages, manufacturing was growing etc. Number of available graduates grew considerably, even though they were not adequately skilled. Skill requirements were moderately high but many graduates were recruited as trainees to fill the manpower gaps and they grew on the job.
From year 2000, a combination of factors which includes higher graduate production, and decreasing industrial establishment means that industries could not absorb as many graduates as were produced by our Universities and Polytechnics. This led to rising unemployment with large numbers of graduates competing for few job openings.
To be competitive, he counselled, “graduates has to demonstrate ability to fill the needs of the organisation. They must equip themselves with the right skill set or be ready to acquire same,” He concluded.
It was indeed an unforgettable moment for all as section of participants interviewed praised the Institution for taking time to organised such a high level workshop to open their eyes into career in Oil and Gas industry and others. Many of the participants urged the Institution continue to hold such programs as to motivate them.