In a statement of bold action geared towards sending signal that it means business, the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers under the leadership of professor Mohammed Buba Ndaliman has launched its digital mentoriship platform in Abuja, writes isqil Najim.
The mentoring which was a part of its broad plan to take the Mechanical Engineers forward under is FAFME project heralded a new era for the Institution which has in the past committed to Young engineers development.
Funded by Royal Academy of Engineer, the FAFME , the project tagged Nigerian Internship and Mentoring Platform was unveiled in Abuja will serve to equip young mechanical engineers and students with valuable skills that will help them face the realities in the Labour market and also contribute meaningfully to the nation’s economic development.
Speaking at the launch, the National Chairman of NIMechE, Engr. Prof. Mohammed Ndaliman said the efforts is expected to “close the skill-gap for Nigerian Engineers to provide the needed technological leadership to drive the robust continental economic integration project, to develop Africa into the global power house of the future; as the cry by organization and industries keeps increasing geometrically about Graduates inability to fit into the organizations’ role of carrying out assigned projects”.
He noted that Mechanical Engineering practice is taking a new face in Africa, and that there was need to use Mentorship and Internship to supplement theoretical knowledge.
Ndaliman further stressed that there was a growing concerns over the increasing rate of unemployment in the sector, due to lack of technical skills.
He added that the program is meant to proffer solutions to these challenges and will also go further in giving engineers the necessary knowledge needed to harness their skills into building their enterprise.
” It is the hope of the Institution (NIMechE) to assist its members develops core values that will be reckon with in Nigeria and beyond, to realize this goal the body conduct professional training and manpower development of mechanical engineers, technicians, and allied disciples; equip engineers with relevant skills required for the practice especially in this current era of LOCAL CONTENT DEVELOPMENT in Nigeria.
” The Institution has recorded success in its efforts to build and develop its professional body to stand the test of time given that the NiMechE Internship and Mentorship Platform (NIMP), is the second to be institutionalized. The first program known as the NIMechE Innovation Challenge (NIC) held annually, was a capacity building opportunity for Mechanical Engineering students to explore, to enable them bring their creativity to reality and cook up solutions to the many challenges facing Nigeria’s sector like Agriculture, Security, Health care delivery, Automation and Sustainable energy among others. According to reports the programme drew attendance from over 20 higher institutions across Nigeria and five others from Ghana.
” African Engineers will play pivotal role in manufacturing and industrialization in line with the African Continental Trade Agreement (AfCTA) endorsed by President Mohammadu Buhari to boost the trade volume and economic integration among other African countries, and lay the ‘building blocks ‘for the gradual realization of the ‘Agenda 2063- the Africa We Want”.
The National Chairman Engr. Prof. Mohammed reiterated their commitment to support federal government and other African leaders in their quest to industrialize the African continent by ensuring that young engineering graduates and students are well equipped through training and re-training of the industrial work force.
The National Chairman appreciated the funding and supports received from various organizations, such as Royal Academy of Engineers, – GCRF, Africa Catalyst Phase 3.0, IAESTE, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Energy Training Centre, Industrial Training Fund, IMechE-UK, EFN-UK,Balbus, UK Limited, Laspotech, African Engineering Education Association, and other distinguished Nigerian Engineers and Engineering Organizations.
Some of the personalities who participated at the event are Engr. Cassandra Janakos, a Cultural Mentor with TechWomen through the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, an engineer and member Board of Trustees, Society of Women Engineers, Stanford StartX Mentor, and TechWoman, the Chairman of the Occasion, Engr. Babagana Mohammed, , President, Nigerian Society of Engineers, also the President of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Engr. Ali A. Rabiu, and Immediate Former National Chairman of NIMechE, Engr. Dr. Robinson I. Ejilah, Engr Dr Ismail Balogun and host of others.
Prior to this however, the Institution has been setting the pace with its consistent investment in young engineers over the years. Starting with the establishment of student wing named, National Students Forum, under leadership of Chairman Engr Fanimokun which has chapters is tertiary institutions across the country, the NIMechE then embarked on an ambitious programmes for the universities Otis Engineering Sponsored Annual Quiz Competition and Design for the students which aimed at promoting healthy rivalries among the students in Tertiary institutions.
The body also partnered with Krestal Laurel Engineering Limited where Engr Dideolu Falobi lead management sponsored a capacity programme in 2013 when the Company brought together many Graduates of Engineering across the country for the event which held in Lagos. Various programems have been organised through the period, each attempting to address the challenges facing young engineers.
However, with the launching of the Royal Academy of Engineering African Catalyst Programme, NIMechE was selected among the African Organisations to participate in the Pilot Scheme with grantee Engr Ozoduwa Agbonene, kennedy Osagie coordinating the event. The programme was hugely successful as it exposed the many budding innovators from our tertiary institutions. The success sets the motion into development of robust intervention for the young innovators.
The grand finale of the programme which ran for six months of exciting professional activities, mentoring, practical construction, supervision, workshops etc and eventually had 11 shortlisted entries various tertiary institutions was held at the LOCO Hall of Nigerian Railway Corporation headquarters with representative of UK based organisation in person of Jane Carrot in attendance. many distinguished Engineers also participated in the event. Ogun State Polytechnics Igbesa won the competition at the end of the event.
The Second Edition, tagged NIC2 was also to follow. Over 320 mechanical engineering students from 25 universities in Nigeria and Ghana were in attendance, where they were exposed to training on engineering development, entrepreneurial and corporate skills; helping them to acquire the technical, innovative, collaborative and enterprise skills necessary to become successful leaders in engineering. 30 innovations were presented from 16 universities and 10 made it to the next phase, where 3 outstanding innovations will be selected to win the coveted prizes. The representative of ‘Engineers Against Poverty’’ Elizabeth Mcarthy, graced the event.
In 2019, December, NIMechE launched FAFME as a successor to the Innovation Challenges with broad focus to expand also to to graduates of Mechanical engineering and build a future career for them in the industry. Forging Africa’s Future for Mechanical Engineers (FAFME) is aimed at repositioning mechanical engineering practice in Africa using mentorship and internship to complement the wide theoretical knowledge gap.
As noted by its national chairman, Professor Ndaliman, FAFME is an offshoot of the NIMechE Innovation Challenge (NIC) and is geared towards deepening and building the capacity of mechanical engineering students in providing homegrown innovative solutions to challenges faced in majority of Nigeria’s sector.
With the Institution setting a bold agenda to response to the challenges of graduates unemployability, and prepare them for the increasingly competitive work environment, while also encouraging them to harness their skills into building their enterprises, FAFME, holds the ace and will naturally deserves the supports of w eall meaning Nigerian organisations as this is a task which may make the difference in lives of many mechanical engineers and set the tone for local industrialization.
MyEngineers, having followed the event from the inception at every crucial stage can only hope that those in authority see the potential goldmine in this project and give it a resounding backing.
Compiled by Isqil Najim