Speech by President Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria, Engr. Funmilola Ojelade FNSE, on the Occasion of the 2020 APWEN CONFERENCE/AGM,

APWEN President Engr Funlola Ojelade

Opening Ceremony Speech by President Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria, Engr. Funmilola Ojelade FNSE, on the Occasion of the 2020 APWEN CONFERENCE/AGM, 22nd – 25th September 2020.

Protocols.

The Executive governor of of Kebbi State, Sen. Abubakar Atiku Magudu, a man passionate about STEM education, especially for the girl child,
The President Nigerian society of engineers; Engr. Babagana Mohammed, FNSE
The President, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, Engr. Ali A. Rabiu, FNSE, FASCE
Distinguished founders of our great association
Past Presidents of our great association
APWEN national EXCO members
APWEN chapter chairmen
APWEN and NSE members
Gentlemen of the press, ladies and gentlemen

It is my honour and pleasure to welcome you all to the opening ceremony of the 2020 APWEN Virtual Conference/AGM.

This year’s APWEN Conference is a 4-day event starting today, Tuesday 22nd September 2020 and ending on Friday 25th September 2020. It is the first ever virtual conference by any engineering body in Nigeria. This is not surprising because APWEN, which is a Special Division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), has always been a pacesetter among all the 25 Divisions of the NSE. Originally planned as a physical event to be held in Abuja, it is held as a virtual event to avoid a large gathering and help prevent the spread of COVID-19

This 4-day event is an expression of the life-impacting culture of APWEN. The theme of the Conference is The Dynamics of Engineering Education for Sustainable Development. To declare the conference open is his Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kebbi State, Sen. Abubakar Atiku Magudu. He is the Distinguished Guest of Honour and the Keynote speaker. He will be giving a keynote address around the theme of the conference. The opening ceremony is a hybrid event meaning we will have some people attending physically in this hall and others, from all over the world will join via Zoom.

After the Opening Ceremony, there will be a panel discussion titled Engineering Education in COVID-19 Era. This will be a full virtual event. As we all know, COVID-19 has re-defined the way we do a lot of things. In many cases, it has taught us a new way of doing things. Engineering education is one that requires the students to carry out physical activities in laboratories, workshops and the likes. How can the knowledge of this experience be impacted in an era of lockdown or physical distancing? Have we developed a new way to this? To discuss this topic are leading engineers from both the industry and the Academia: we have

1. The President of the Sierra Leone Institution of Engineers, Ing. Trudy Morgan
2. The MD/CEO of Siemens Nigeria, Ms Onyeche Tifashe
3. The Director of Academics at the African University of Science & Technology, Abuja, Engr. Prof. Peter Onwualu, FNSE, who is a former DG of the Raw Materials Research & Development Council
4. A senior engineer at South Jersey Industries, USA, Ms Adaeze Udeogalanya
The Session will be moderated by Engr. Yetunde Aladeitan, a lecturer from the University of Abuja.

Tomorrow, 23rd September 2020, Day 2 of the Conference, we have the presentation of technical papers starting by 9:30 a.m. The subthemes of the main conference theme will be presented at the pane sessions. The subthemes are: Engineering Policies, Renewable Energy Technology, Waste Management, Strategic leadership and entrepreneurship, sustainable materials processing, Modelling & simulation of engineering design as well as sustainable production systems. Experts in these fields will present papers on those topics. It is a fully virtual event. It will have 4 sessions running concurrently. We encourage members and non-members alike to subscribe to the conference and join us.

Also tomorrow by noon, there will be a virtual industrial visit to the Jaguar Land Rover assembly plant in Halewood, Liverpool England UK. We will see how this high end product is assembled. We will also be able to appreciate their work culture and compare it to how we do such here in Nigeria. As you know, here in Nigeria, we have vehicle assembly by Coscharis and Innoson. We also used to have PAN. This is the advantage of the virtual mode of this conference – we can be anywhere in the world! Our tour guide for the virtual industrial visit is Engr. Ismail Balogun, Founder of Balbus UK Ltd and a UK automotive engineering solutions provider. He is a Nigerian.

On Thursday 24th September 2020, we have our flagship program, the Town & Gown Mentoring/capacity development program for young engineers. Essentially, the program is a bridge between the academia and the industry. Young engineers in this parlance refers to undergraduate engineering students from their penultimate university year up to 3 years post-graduation. We have invited various multinationals who employ engineers as our mentor partners for this program. They will be speaking to the group of young engineers that have indicated interest in their respective industries. The young engineers are grouped according to their engineering field of interest; oil & Gas, Manufacturing, Energy, telecoms, construction and the likes. So, each group is addressed by a company operating in their respective field of interest.

They will be mentoring the young engineers on how to build a career their respective companies. The T&G is also a ground where such companies can recruit new talents.

So, you can call it a job fair, if you like. Companies that have been invited for this edition of the program are:
1. Siemens Nigeria (an energy company)
2. Construction Kaiser (a construction company)
3. Tranos (engineering manufacturing)
4. Baker Hughes (energy, oil & gas)
5. Chevron
6. Guinness
7. Nigerian Bottling Company (Coca-Cola)
8. Shell Companies in Nigeria
9. CadWorks
10. DeltaAfrik

All participating companies will receive our Mentor Partner badge
The T&G program is sponsored by Worley Foundation, an Australian organization and is to be held in all six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. DeltaAfrik is a JV partner with Worley. We had the first edition of the Town & Gown in June 2020, targeting young engineers in South-West Zone. This second edition is for North-Central Zone.

Therefore, we have invited H.E. the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, FNSE to declare it open. The Keynote Speaker is Myles O’Connor, the General Manager for Worley Academy HQ, Saudi Arabia. Both editions of T&G are virtual because of the COVID-19 environment. And this has enabled young engineers from other regions to participate. For example, for this edition, we have young engineers from as far as India, non-Nigerians, registering to be part of the event. In the future, when the COVID is completely over, we will be having the event physically in different geopolitical zones around Nigeria.

Apart from the mentoring sessions, the Town & Gown also involves executing projects that can help the young engineers obtain skills to become self-employed. Now that the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19 has been eased, we will commence on those projects. We will do a training on 3D Printing, and another on CISCO this year

Finally, on Friday, 25th September, we have the Annual General Meeting of the Association. This is for APWEN members only.

Thank you for being part of our virtual conference. Please relax and enjoy the rest of today’s event

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