By Ikenna Obianeri
The Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, has been selected to serve as a training hub in engineering and entrepreneurship development, a programme of the Royal Academy of Engineering in the United Kingdom.
This is following an award of £100,000 received by Nigeria and five other African countries from the UK Royal Academy of Engineering to boost engineering skills in Africa.
A statement made available on Monday by an alumnus of the UK Royal Academy of Engineering, Ugochukwu Ifediora, said the Deputy Director of UNIZIK Business School, Dr Chinedu Onyeizugbe, attracted the award.
Ifediora said the programme aimed at addressing the engineering skills shortage in sub-Saharan Africa and showcasing the role of engineering in driving inclusive economic development in the region.
He added that both institutions were taken positive steps towards human capacity development in Nigeria
The statement read in part, “By forming and strengthening relationships between academia and industry, the programme aims to enable the higher education system in sub-Saharan Africa to produce engineers with the skills and knowledge required to meet the needs of industry and to tackle local challenges.
“The Higher Education Partnerships in sub-Saharan Africa Programme, supported by the Anglo-American Group Foundation and the UK Government through the Global Challenges Research Fund, was established by the Royal Academy of Engineering.
“The £100,000 grant will be released in tranches for the approved project titled: ‘Catalysing the employability and entrepreneurial impact of Nigerian engineers in the electricity industry to strategically improve access to electricity in Nigeria.’
“This project will improve the skills, capacity and employability of Nigerian engineering graduates; build on the research and innovation capacity of engineering students across higher education institute in the South East Nigeria such as Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Igbuariam, and equally stimulate ties with industries across Anambra State especially in Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi, while increasing the scale of impact in the states economy.”
The Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka Prof. Charles Esimone and the Director, UNIZIK Business School Prof Emma Okoye, in their separate reactions to the development, praised the awardees for their hardwork and diligence in blazing the trail in the Academia and Private Sector of the state, including being amongst six awardees selected across Africa for the grant.