Engineering plays a key role in supporting the growth and development of a country’s economy as well as in improving the quality of life of citizens.
As such, it is the bedrock for development of any serious nation, there is an important link between a country’s engineering capacity and its economic development. However, the extent to which engineering can aid development is also dependent upon governments committing finance and resources required for infrastructure projects, as well as developing a favourable business environment with good regulation.
Engineering covers many different types of activity. Engineers make things, make things work and make things work better. They also use their creativity to design solutions to the world’s problems and help build the future.
The president/chief executive of Dangote Industries, Aliko Dangote in recognising this has shown his commitment in the development and boosting engineering in the country.
Recently, the Dangote Group bagged three awards given by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) in recognition of its outstanding contributions to the development of the engineering profession in the country.
The awards were presented during the NSE Ikeja Branch’s dinner and awards ceremony organised as part of activities to round-off its engineering week with the theme ‘Integrated engineering development as a catalyst for homegrown industrial revolution’.
During the well-attended ceremony held in Lagos, Dangote Industries Limited bagged the ‘Outstanding Engineering Organisation of the year’ award, while the president/chief executive of Dangote Industries, Aliko Dangote and group executive director, Strategy, Capital Projects & Portfolio Development, Devakumar Edwin were both honoured with ‘Outstanding Engineering Personality’ awards.
Other personalities who got the NSE awards were Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, John Holt Plc, Kenol Nigeria Limited, and Pilot Science Company Limited among others.
Speaking during the event, Edwin, who expressed the company’s delight at the recognition and awards, pledged Dangote Industries’ commitment to the development of engineering in Nigeria.
According to him, the company has over the past years invested in the training and development of young engineers who have acquired sufficient knowledge and taken up the responsibility of managing Dangote Cement plants across Africa.
Through adequate training and exposure to latest science and technology, Edwin said that Nigerians engineers now work as expatriates in Dangote Cement plants located in other countries.
Edwin stated, “We are developing a pool of engineers for the company and it is a thing of great pride for us. We have mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, chemical engineers and several other engineering fields in our company. We have grown and developed people. We have not only developed them to work here in Nigeria; we have also started exporting them to Dangote Cement plants across Africa as expatriates. Therefore, we pay attention to skill development of engineers and it is working for us.
“When I was selecting the equipment for the construction of plants in Nigeria, a company in Germany wondered why I have to select such sophisticated equipment to establish a plant in Africa. They thought I was crazy. I had to take that decision to choose sophisticated and ultra-modern technology because I believe that Nigerian engineers, if given the necessary training and exposure, can compete with their counterparts in other parts of the world.
“Dangote has most of the technologically advanced plants in the world. No plant in Europe and U.S can claim to have more technology than what we have in all our plants and these plants are being managed by Nigerians.”
He commended NSE Ikeja Branch for focusing on training and development of young engineers, which he said, would help prepare them to take up higher challenge in their profession.
The chairman, Ikeja Branch, NSE, Olutosin Ogunmola said the association decided to honour Dangote Industries for contributing significantly to the engineering profession.
He stated that the association was established to promote, protect, encourage and maintain a high standard of engineering study and practice and to encourage greater efficiency therein.
According to him, the Society’s objective is to promote the advancement of engineering education, research, and practice in all its ramifications. “Naturally, this is with a view to maintaining and enhancing the professional capabilities of our members so as to better equip them to fulfill the needs of the profession for the good of the public and the nation of large”, he added.
Also, through its academy, Dangote Group works to improve the skill levels of its staff by providing training opportunities through its own educational hub, the Dangote Academy, or through reputable institutions inside Nigeria and abroad.
The Dangote Academy was established in 2010 to provide training in technical and management skills for employees and people wishing to join the Dangote Group of companies.
The Academy recently said it is preparing to admit another set of student engineer. A document seen by newsmen showed that about one thousand engineering graduates have been admitted into the Academy, and subsequently employed into the various subsidiaries of the Dangote Group.
The free training programmes in the Dangote Academy located in Kogi State are: Graduate Engineer Training Scheme, Junior Technician Training Scheme and Vocational Training Scheme.
Therefore, every section of economic activity has the roles of engineering and technology. Whether it is Raw material, manufacturing or distribution and with the saying, ‘No Engineers No Development’.
Dangote Industries Limited is a diversified and fully integrated conglomerate with vibrant operations in Nigeria and Africa across a wide range of sectors including cement, sugar, salt, condiments, packaging, energy, port operations, fertilizer, and petrochemicals.
Its core business focus is to provide local, value-added products and services that meet the ‘basic needs’ of the populace through the construction and operation of large scale manufacturing facilities in Nigeria and across Africa. The Group focused on building local manufacturing capacity to generate employment, reduce capital flight and increase local value addition.