THE STUDENT ENGINEER; His Contribution to Engineering in Nigeria | UNN GATE


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Monday, 11 December 2017

THE STUDENT ENGINEER; His Contribution to Engineering in Nigeria

By: Ude Emeka John (JB)

Civil Engineering Student UNN

published first in 2015 (Civil Scope Magazine; Green Engineering)


The Engineering profession is one which is positioned as one of the prominent in the world today. Every aspects of human activities requires engineering, the profession is one which can be termed vast; in that, its classifications cannot be overstretched as they are numerous. Currently we have over 30 distinct disciplines in engineering, which emerged from the one Civil engineering; these disciplines have units which will in due time become independent. Scholars have also made attempt to group it into; engineers, technologists, technicians and artisans. Also professional bodies categorize these in the profession into students, graduate, associate, corporate and fellows. These various forms of grouping can go on and on to show the vast characteristics of the profession.

The student engineer as it implies refers to one which is undergoing formal training/education as in (engineers, technologists & technicians) or informal training /education as in (artisans) to eventually become engineering personnel. The student engineers in some ways are seen to be very important individuals in the profession (engineering). This is true owing to the fact that these ones are still studying, researching, devising alternative means which are faster and better, but it is quite appalling that in most institutions especially in Nigeria student engineers are in pursuit of the grades alone. The truth remains thus, the true engineer is an engineer with the skill, innovative mind and ability to impact living via technology.

Coming home, the engineering profession takes another face in the country where engineers face many challenges. The student engineer is one which is affected even the more, he is affected during his training and is already anticipating grater challenges even after graduation. Most of the challenges are those of the decisions made by the government via their policies.

The educational sector; talking about inadequate infrastructures and facilities for effective teaching and learning.

The practical training which is the actual training of the engineering student is lacking; we see students only getting to the world in their fourth year during I.T. (that is if they actually get the appropriate company). what if they do not? Taking a scenario of a civil engineering student working in a firm that majors in Mechanical/Electrical activities and an electronic guy taking I.T. in a firm that virtually has nothing to do with him only because that’s the only place he actually had luck. What will be their faith when they eventually graduate?

It is high time trips and practical instructions (in the field) were imbibed compulsorily into the students’ academia, this will definitely help the student in his own field; Civil, Mechanical and so on to get familiar with his profession. Reports have it hat more than 70% of graduate engineers only get to fit into their profession after they have being employed. why? because their actual training (practical) started on their first day at work.

The Market is another challenge; talking about continuous negligence of the indigenous engineers/engineering firms, taking preference to foreign engineers in major projects in the country these gives no sign of encouragement to our own product engineers.

Gone are those days when student engineers get good jobs on or before the day of their convocation where companies come to harvest fresh graduates. It is no more owing to decrease in opportunities, increase in professionals both local and foreign, widening of the areas in the engineering profession. The students engineer has thus been posed with challenges in the profession.

What is the way out? Everything starts with the mind and the mind alone, the sense of reasoning or point of view of the profession is very important for the student engineer. It is high time students stopped paying 100% attention to the grades they make as indicated earlier, as this will depict the opposite of what the engineering profession is all about. The students engineer has to pay much attention to the skills he can acquire during his years of study, the actual understanding of the problems in the society which they can actually proffer solutions to. The new ways of doing things which he can propose for better living and promotion of life.

The student engineer should have it in mind that working under a person or firm is not really the saving grace or definition of fulfilment as an engineer what matters is what the student engineer has to offer regardless of the means he uses. We find graduate engineers doing jobs not meant for them all because they lack skill in the engineering profession. For the student engineer to come out to the world without fear of challenges, he should be ready to acquire skills and become independent in his profession. Innovative mindset should be his key watchword in order that no firm, company, government parastatal or policy restricts him from impacting his society.

When and only when the student engineer begins to think innovations, rather than grades he can be able to stand any challenge in the society. Capitalizing on the past technology is a waste of time, the students engineer should at all times make moves to develop newer and newer ways of doing things, newer ways of living newer ways to promote the activities of mankind.

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