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Monday, October 2, 2023

Conferences and Workshops : Open letter to Senior Engineers and Technologists


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To our highly esteemed senior Engineers and technologists,

What if solution to problems of this country is in the mind of a young person who cannot afford training needed to execute it from conception to construction? What if the key to improving your company’s productivity, or injecting new innovation into your operations is in the mind of someone (a staff, mentee) who just needed inspiration or knowledge from a conference or a Workshop?

As experienced professionals, many of us have attended professional gatherings, conferences, workshops, seminars or meetings where our brains perfected an idea which was once floating in our head. Those high profile workshops and conferences are not free.

There are many such gatherings (Workshops, Seminars, conferences) organized by various associations and professional bodies; both local and international.  The Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN organizes Annual COREN Assembly The Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE and its specialized Divisions also have many such events, National Association of Technologists in Engineering, NATE is not left out. They have established reputation for organizing practical workshops. This is not to mention those that are undertaken abroad.

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In is that time again. more Conferences are around the corner. the gathering of the largest Assembly of Engineering specialists in the country. Engineers, Technologists, Technicians, policy makers and business owners will converge together at those events.

Ideally, these are events everyone must look forward to: both Young and old professionals. But many who want to attend may not make it for financial reasons. It is for this reason that I am directing this message at you, our dear senior Engineers, Technologists and employers.

Whether you have your own company or working for others; Whether you are a member of a professional body or not. While many of you can conveniently take care of our professional development, I believe that you can also spread the love to others, particularly younger ones. There is no need  explaining much the importance of attending such conferences. Many have been written on the subject. In same way I have written on the benefits of attending professional gathering to Young Professionals.

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Here is what you can do:
1. You can sponsor a qualified Engineering professional in your organization to attend. Even if you do not own the company.
2. If you are not personally attending but can Sponsor yourself, you can donate this money to a willing Engineer/technologist/technician who wishes to attend but could not raise the fund. You can also split the money to cover for younger professionals as their fees are relatively lower than senior professionals.
3. As an employer, you can also support your staff to attend. At least one Engineer in your organization can benefit. He will return with the knowledge and impacts on his colleagues and the organization
4 And if you cannot sponsor them but they work in your company. You can also encourage them to attend if someone outside your company sponsors them.

How can you go about it?
1. Reach out to a Branch of NSE, NATE or professional your professional body and indicate interest in sponsoring someone willing to attend. The Branches have a database and can also inform their members of available opportunities.
2. Reach out to the Division of NSE such as NIEEE, NIMechE, NSChE etc through their National Chairman or Chapter Chairmen.
3. Confirm and screen the beneficiaries after being matched through the above-mentioned platforms.
4. If you are satisfied, Make all necessary preparations to ensure he or she register before the event or at the event venue. If you are sponsoring large numbers, request for discount form organizer(s).
5. As an individual, you can also do this without going through any of the above. Check your list of “friends” on social media, your alumni network or your neighborhood. There will be at least one serious young professional who doesn’t have the means to attend but will love to attend a professional gathering. He may be your mentee, he can be just that person who is quiet and barely talks; he can be your neighbour. Identify one or more and lend a hand.

Doing this will go a long way, in not only helping others benefit from attending  and gaining knowledge at conference or workshops but serves as a motivation for these young people to give back when they are financially better. You can imagine the long-term effect if this culture becomes a norm in our society.

Let’s join hands and spread this message. As Matshona Dhliwayo once said:

“Be a star in someone’s dark sky.”

My name is Isqil Najim, Follow me on twitter @isqilnajm

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