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UK Royal Academy of Engineering launches training programme for Unizik students

The Royal Academy of Engineering, United Kingdom, has officially launched a two years training programme for engineering students, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State.

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, which Unizik was selected in Nigeria for the training.

Speaking during the official lunching of the Higher Education Partnerships in Sub-Saharan Africa 22/24 Programme, held at the Unizik Business School conference hall, on Friday, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Charles Esimone, said the programme 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, 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.”

He noted that the two years training programme will create employment opportunities and further promote academic relationship between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

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In his opening address, the Unizik team leader of the training programme, Dr. Chinedu Onyeizugbe, said the project title: 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, is aimed to improve engineering capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa by enhancing the knowledge, skills, capacity and Employability of African engineering graduates, build on the research and innovation capacity of engineering students of higher education institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa and to stimulate ties with industry to increase the scale of impact.

He said 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.

According to him, in line with the stipulations of the Grant Awarding Body, the awardees will work with following partners, with Unizik Business School (UBS), Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka as the hub, United Kingdom Partners: Teesside University of Middlesbrough TS13BA and V-Lab Limited. Nigerian Higher Education Partners: Chukwuemeka Odumegwu University Igbariam, Anambra State, Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, Abia State and Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Imo State. Industrial Partners: Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC, Fedironic Limited and Century Power Limited and Professional Partners: Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Awka branch.

“The project will run for two years: November 2022-October 2024 and is for 400 level students who are due for industrial training.

“Participants who successfully complete the programme will be issued certificates and encouraged to widely report and publicize their experiences.

“We hope to partner with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bank of Industry (BOI), the Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA) and other organisations to explore the possibility of gaining access to funds for achieving the objective of making self-employed entrepreneurs of Nigerian Graduate Engineers, Onyeizugbe explained.

In their separate reactions, the Director, UNIZIK Business School Prof. Emma Okoye and the Co-Awardee of the programme, Engr. Ugochukwu Ifediora, said the programme aims to address the engineering skills deficit in Africa, South of the Saharan as well as show case the role of engineering in driving inclusive economic development in the region and by forming and strengthening synergy between academia and industry in the Africa Continent.

The UK partners participate in the launching via visual.