The United Kingdom’s Royal Academy of Engineering has officially established a two-year training program for engineering students at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka in Anambra State.
This comes on the heels of a £100,000 award from the academy to Nigeria and five other African countries to promote engineering capabilities in Africa, with UNIZIK being the chosen recipient university in Nigeria for the training.
The vice chancellor of the university, Professor Charles Esimone, said during the official lunch of the Higher Education Partnerships in Sub-Saharan Africa 22/24 program, held recently at the UNIZIK Business School conference hall, that the program would improve the skills, capacity, and employability of Nigerian engineering graduates; and build on the research and innovation capacity of engineering students across higher education institutions in south-east Nigeria.
He stated that the two-year training program would offer job possibilities and strengthen intellectual linkages between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
The training program’s UNIZIK team leader, Dr. Chinedu Onyeizugbe, stated in his opening address that the project, titled ‘Catalyzing the Employability and Entrepreneurial Impact of Nigerian Graduate Engineers in the Electricity Industry as a Strategic Way to Improve Access to Electricity in Nigeria,’ aims to improve engineering capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa.
He stated that the Royal Academy of Engineering launched the higher education partnerships in the Sub-Saharan Africa initiative, which is financed by the Anglo-American Group Foundation and the UK government through the Global Challenges Research Fund.
According to him, the grantees would collaborate with the following partners, with the UNIZIK Business School (UBS), Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka as the hub; the United Kingdom partners: the Teesside University of Middlesbrough TS13BA and V-Lab Limited.
Others include: Chukwuemeka Odumegwu University, Igbariam, Anambra State, Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, Abia State, and Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Imo State are Nigerian Higher Education partners.
Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC, Fedironic Limited, and Century Power Limited are the industrial partners, and the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Awka chapter is the professional partner.
In separate reactions to the development, Professor Emma Okoye, director of UNIZIK Business School, and Mr. Ugochukwu Ifediora, co-awardee of the program, stated that the program would address the engineering skills deficit in Africa and the southern part of the Saharan to showcase the role of engineering in driving inclusive economic development in the region, as well as by forming and strengthening the synergy between academia and industry on the African continent.