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    APWEN MAOCADA: Creating a Practical Step towards empowerment and job creation among Young people

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    By Isqil Najim

    There is no denying the fact that unemployment is one of the biggest challenges facing this generation. Unlike in the past where graduates walk into waiting job after their schooling, job are scarce now and competition is so high that many eventually give in to social vices in a bid to survive.

    Available data indicate that 54 percent of young people within employment rank are unemployed. this is staggering for a nation that has predominantly youth population. It is a bod to address that Association of professional Women Engineers in Nigeria, APWEN came up with various prgrammes to tackle the menace. One of such programme is the recently launched Margaret Aina Oguntala Capacity Development Academy, MAOCADA, MAOCADA.

    Named in honour of the first female Deputy President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr Margaret Aina Oguntala, for her pioneering contributions to development of young engineers, and Sponsored by two of the nations’ distinguished engineering firms, Kenol Nigeria Limited and MoMMAS, Margaret Aina Oguntala Capacity Development Academy, MAOCADA is designed to equipped young female engineering graduates with relevant skills which will lead to their becoming entrepreneurs at the end of the 6 months intensive training to be held at the Universal Learners Direct Academy.

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    Speaking at the unveiling of the MAOCADA, President of Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria, APWEN Engr. Elizabeth Eterigho said  MAOCADA is targeted as Nigeria’s premier advanced technical, vocational, entrepreneurial and life skills learning programme that will create a generation of self sustained and employable female youths, particularly young engineers.

    According to her, “The programme would provide a viable pipeline of skilled female engineers to either establish their own entrepreneurial ventures or be in high demand for the industries. By doing so, the employment landscape will become more competitive and creative thus reducing the level of unemployed and unemployable females in Nigeria. Particularly, now that the Federal Government is focused on diversification, the economy and industries are requiring specific skills from potential employees.

    Speaking further, Ethrogho lamented that: “The competence gap in Skilled and Unskilled young engineers within Africa and Nigeria in particular, revealed that Nigeria has the largest youth bulge which gives concern that Nigeria is not deliberate in her efforts to position her youths to compete for current and evolving jobs through technical capacity building.”

    She noted that “Nigeria has an unemployment rate of 32 percent, and 30 percent of women are unemployed. At the same time, businesses and employers across the state and nation, complain that they cannot find enough skilled entry-level workers.” It is for this reason that MAOCADA aims to target new approach in skills education in Nigeria. disclosed that 20 trainees would be undergoing training for six months on AutoCAD, Electrical Wiring/Installation, Meter Installation and Management, Plumbing & Water Distribution System. Dr. Elizabeth Jumoke Eterigho, was represented by APWEN Vice President, Dr. Adebisi Osim,

    On his part, the President, Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, Engr. Tasiu Sa’ad Gidari-Wudil, commended APWEN for being at the forefront of capacity development for engineers. In his word, “APWEN has continued to be the catalyst for advancement of women in the engineering profession towards national and global technological development.” he added that “As professionals, it is good that we continue to develop our capacity for optimal productivity, and continue to promote same”./ He called well meaning Nigerians and corporate organisations who appreciate the place of women in national development to join hand and support APWEN in this laudable effort to address  widening gap in Technical and Vocational Education and Training, (TVET), at a time when the society is desirous of and promoting the skilling up of members across all cadres of its membership. NSE President, Tasiu Salad Gidari-Wudil, charged the beneficiaries to be focused as problem solvers.

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    The Deputy President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Engr Margaret Aina Oguntala, on her part said that youths need to learn skills when they graduate from the university to fit into the workforce. She noted that the partnership with Kenol Nigeria Limited and MOMASS for the training, which covered Autocad, electrical wiring/installation, meter installation, plumbing and water distribution, would get more women employed and encourage them to stay more in engineering. She commended APWEN initiative while adding that it aligns with her vision to help the younger women. Oguntala, stated that the programme took off with 20 participants but will with time inject over 50 technically capable female professionals into the community annually with a target of 300 in the next five years.

    “We want to equip young women for the workforce by training them in areas where they can be on their own, be able to do things on their own, learn more and advance knowledge,” Oguntala said.

    The Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Engr. Noimot Salako-Oyedele stressed the need to make vocational training more attractive to people especially young women and increase confidence about it in technicians, rather than emphasis on certification. The Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Mrs. Noimot Salako-Oyedele stressed the need to make vocational training more attractive to people and increase confidence about it in technicians, rather than emphasy on certification.

    The Chief Executive Officer, Kenol Engineering Company Limited, Olu Ogundiyile said his company Kenol Nigeria Limited has created a culture of training people and creating career for a living. According to him, the comany has the “mandate to contribute to the development of our country to navigate the majority of the citizenry out of poverty and assure a safe future for all to live.”

    In his words, “We have apprentice training program for school leavers to become technicians in the areas of electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, communication installations which has been running for more than 25 years now. We also introduced the graduate training scheme for graduates of universities and colleges of technology some sixteen years ago to help them develop practical engineering skills through on-the-job experience over a period of times.”

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    He appealed to the beneficiaries to “know what you are living for, be determined to be transformed and have a purpose to be a transformer yourself, justify the confidence reposed in you and be a solution to the socio-economic challenges of our nation.”

    Nigeria’s government, commercial, professional and industrial leaderships have not been as visionary and as creative as they ought to be. Olu Ogunduyile

    Engr. Olu Ogunduyile observed that Nigeria’s government, commercial, professional and industrial leaderships have not been as visionary and as creative as they ought to be. He said that, “It is the economic collapse that occur within their scope of operation and influence, at the micro-levels, that manifest at the national scale and have largely. …MAOCADA should be supported by all and sundry including the government. Politicians should borrow a leaf from this and become intentional in addressing the socio-economic challenges of our nation by evolving various sustainable developmental programmes that will empower the citizens including the timid population of the young adults to save the bleak future.”

    In her Concept Note address, Engr. Idiat Amusu , lamented that, energetic population lacked employment and income opportunities consequently resulting in the progressive internal migration from the rural areas to economically prosperous urban areas and to other countries including EU and recently Canada.

    “According to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, the economy of the country reduced by 6.1% in the second quarter of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic thus further leads to rising unemployment and exacerbates the situation for women and disadvantaged groups. This unemployment and underemployment challenge is what gave birth to MAOCADA.

    “The benefit of a prosperous employment for the Nigerian youth between the ages of 15-35 will have tremendous benefit on the economy cannot be over emphasized.

    NSE as a strong advocacy group  has not used up its power…Olawumi

    The President of ULDA, Chief Olawumi Gasper said though NSE is a strong advocacy group, but has not used up its power. He stressed the need for the country to change the narrative about youths employment and ensuring that skills acquisition and entrepreneurship leads to wealth creation. On the programme, Olawumi said that “It is a fundamental programme expected to impact the lives of the younger generation. It is a ladder to lift each other up”.

    The Dean of Faculty, Universal Learn Direct Academia ( ULDA), Engr. Babatunde Faleye expressed concern that most people see others who are into skills acquisition such as bricklaying, masonry, tiling, etc as second class citizens, adding that there are a lot of graduates out there, who are jobless.

    He noted that there are jobs in the construction industry that could be taken up by graduates if they are wiling to take up these roles in the country rather  travel out of the country to take up same roles. He stressed the need for the country to include the trade subjects in schools’ curriculum so that even if graduates are unable to get while collar jobs, they will have something to fall back on.

    “It is our opinion that no engineer can mange a project site without an all-round knowledge of the major trades of construction. We are sure that these candidates would leave with high proficiency levels and become outstanding custodians of our academy, ULDA, APWEN, NSE and the global engineering community.” he said.

    Twenty female engineers will benefited from the Margaret Aina Oguntala Capacity Development Academy (MAOCADA) instituted by the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), to upscale the capacity of young female engineers, enhance their professional skills in order to achieve improved technical proficiency and professional confidence. The target is 300 in the nest 5 years.

    Some of the dignitaries at the event are Engr. Oguntala,  Engr Margret Oguntala,,Deputy Governor Ogun State Engr Noimot Salako-Oyedele ; President of NSE Engr Tasiu Sa’ad –Wudil; Vice President Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) Engr Daivd Omonibeke; Vice President Association of Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) Engr Dr Adebisi Osim , Past President of NSE Engr Dr Olusegun Ajayi, and host of others.

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