By Victoria Amadi
The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Ikeja Branch has urged Nigeria to prioritise innovation and technical skills development for her to effectively function in the industrial space and advance its economy.
The branch and other experts gave the advice and more at their four-day 2022 Innovation week themed “TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE CITY: ENGINEERING INNOVATION CHALLENGE.”
The week-long event which was held at the Branch’s Secretariat, Ralph Alabi Engineering Complex (RAEC) in Agege, Lagos, featured the Francis Oguamanam Inno-Creativ Fair (FOiF) and Idiat Aderemi Amusu Project Skill Initiative (IAAPSi). Both are for Secondary and Technical Schools and undergraduates and above, respectively.
The Chairman of the NSE Ikeja Engr Olutosin Ogunmola (MNSE) said that the annual programme is one of the Branch’s bold steps toward bridging the technical know-how gap, understanding and application in the school curriculum and industry expectations. He added that the Branch had continued to put itself forward to play key roles in advancing the course of engineering innovation in Lagos and beyond through this and her other programmes.
“We engage with public secondary, technical schools and tertiary Institutions in Lagos State, and partner with research and technical partners to make this programme value adding for the students and other participants. We are having Lagos State government schools. As we have had it over the past six years, we see that even in secondary school, the teachers have been striving assiduously to expose the students to the practical application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.
For the Francis Oguamanam Inno-Creativ Fair (FOiF), we are revamping the programme to go beyond winning prices during the grand finale. The programme will continue round the year with bootcamp for relevant soft skills acquisition to enable us midwife and refine the various project submissions in our newly completed innovation hub into relevant viable products added Engr Nimot Muili, the Chairman of the innovation committee for the Branch as well as the team lead for the organising committee of this year’s edition of the programme.
She said this was inspired by the fact that we want the students planning to go through the tertiary learning institution, to complete their degree programme with projects relevant and applicable to the society. We also intend to further strengthen our relationship with learning institutions to domesticate some of those projects by featuring them during our monthly “Innovation and Creativity Show’. We believe this will further bridge the gap between the young researchers and innovators, and industries who can take up those innovations and scale them.”
The ultimately goal of the branch as an engineering body is to ensure that we can feed into the Nigerian Industrial sector value chain, to start with the manufacturing of some technical products locally”
“In addition, Nimot Muili added that Idiat Aderemi Amusu Project Skill Initiative (IAAPSi) will also continue with career talks and hands-on training sessions for the secondary and technical schools.
The honourees of Project Skills Initiative, Mrs Idiat Amusu and Engr Francis Oguamanam pointed out that for Nigeria to function in the industrial space effectively for the advancement of the economy, technical skills development must be a priority. Industrial revolution that the nation requires to enhance the economy can majorly be achieved by being very active in the industrial space. In these digital times, children aged 7-13 can clearly decern what their future job could be while the 14-25 have already formed their work ethics between them and their employer. Therefore, the best time to catch them, is, in this period when they have the energy, very active and eager to learn. We need to further this by partnering with relevant stakeholders in the Government and industry.
Olufemi Ariyo who lead the 5-man group of judges commended the effort of the groups of 5 students each from the sixteen (16) participating schools. The project are encouraging, we will continue to support the initiative to encourage the the students. He announced Iju senior grammar school iju who presented “Walking Safe in a Green City” project. as the winner. Lagos State Model Senior college Meiran and Vetland Senior Grammar School came second and third, respectively.
Other features of the event include award to the stakeholders and partners of the Branch Innovation Committee. Vitapur Nigeria Limited, represented by Engr. Yemi Mofikoya, who delivered a lecture on Product Development and Design the received “Making a Difference” Award in appreciation of their support for the Branch and also Sustainable Product Development Strategy.
Other Awardees are Smartflow Technologies, John Holt Plc, Engr Mrs Aramide Adeyoye and Ms Salau Adetola, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Government on Works & Infrastructure and Education respectively, Mr Kayode Burahimoh, former Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Ministry of Works.
Other dignitaries that graced the event includes the President and the Deputy of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr Tasiu Saad Gidari – Wudill, Engr Margret A. Oguntalaa amongst others.