The Managing Director/CEO of Engineering Automation Technology (EATECH) Limited, Dr Emmanuel Okon has lamented the huge gap between engineers that are produced from Nigerian academic institutions and what was required for practical or field jobs, tasking all stakeholders in the industry to come together to find ways to close the gap.
He stated this in Eket, Akwa Ibom state while being conferred an honorary fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Mechanical Engineers (NIMechE) for his unwavering commitment and contribution to the engineering profession in the country.
Presenting the award, the National Chairman of NIMechE, Mrs Olufunilade Akingbohun extolled Okon’s corporate leadership and foresight in pioneering an indigenous firm that she said was making great exploits and generating jobs for youths in the country.
She, therefore, urged that the award should serve as a motivation to do more for society and to remain a selfless example for others to emulate.
She commended the EATECH boss for his vision, commitment and hard work in realizing his set targets as a local player in the industry.
While dedicating the award to staff and management of EATECH, Okon lauded NIMechE for their zealous commitment to unlocking the full potential of Nigerian youths for use in the engineering industry, the improvement of the capacity of local engineers and bridging the noticeable manpower gaps in the sector.
“One of the reasons why I am accepting this conferment is because I saw the commitment of NiMechE in training young engineering graduates hence providing job security to the youths. There is a major gap between the engineers that are produced from schools and engineers that are required for field jobs and identifying that gap has been a yearning. Hence, when I learnt of your commitment, I was motivated.
“I am also inspired by the major projects the NiMechE as an institution has put in place and I want to appeal to the Board to follow through to the end and if possible, extend to the oil and gas industry so that major gaps can be closed out. The engineering and construction department will work hand in hand with the Institution to provide the required training once that has been put in place,” he said.
Olufunilade who recounted the days of the humble beginning of NIMechE noted how it started as a department of Mechanical Engineering of the Nigerian Society of Engineers in the 60s, and since then had selfless and committed leaders who nurtured the institution and formed the foundation upon which it stands today.
She also highlighted some of the remarkable strides and collaborations it has made this year toward the growth of the institution and the realization of set goals.
According to Olufunilae, “In the course of the year, we have made tremendous progress in growing our institution and served our members despite various challenges encountered. We have deepened collaboration with the Engineering Forum of Nigerians in the UK who are currently working on three different designs that some of our students were able to come up with during the innovation challenge that was set for them.
“We have a collaboration with the University of West of Scotland with the Centre of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for some of our young engineers who would love to go into the space of entrepreneurship just as Mr Okon has been a leader and mentor in. We also have a collaboration with the ‘University of Lincoln’ on training for manufacturing and production for some of our young engineers.
“We are building a Welding Academy in collaboration with the Federal University of Technology, Akure where we will be going through the process of underwater welding, Robotic welding and Surface welding for some of our engineers. This aside, our various workshops and activities aim towards the professional development of our members,” she said.
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