In its consistent push to deepen competence and further bridge the gap between the industry and education sector, Schneider Electric Nigeria has commissioned an ultra-modern learning centre at the Faculty of Technology, University of Ibadan; a promising partnership to empower youths to become the skilled workforce needed to solve Nigeria’s power challenges.
The lack of collaboration between Nigerian universities research centres and industries has been described by industry watchers as the bane of development and affecting economic growth in the country.
Collaboration between universities and industries has been identified as critical for skill development (education and training), the generation, acquisition and adoption of knowledge (innovation and technology transfer), as well as the promotion and encouragement of entrepreneurship, i.e. start-ups, spin-offs and incubation centres.
Speaking at the commissioning, the General Manager Schneider Electric, Anglo-Phone West Africa, Mr. Balaji Lenka said Schneider in Nigeria aims to bridge the gap between technical education and current industry requirements; as well as to empower youths to gain up-to-date skills to build the competent workforce to solve Nigeria’s power challenges.
“The origin of the project was to empower young Nigerians by bridging the gap between the industry and academia.
“We do this by bringing modern equipments into the university and of course, we train the trainers to use them and also training the students as well,” she said.
According to him, the University of Ibadan was chosen because of what he described as being the proactive in driving collaborations by reserving a space exclusively for Schneider Electric laboratory.
Speaking further, he said it is the biggest investment done for a university, adding that it is the first time the university and Schneider electric will be having this kind of partnership.
“We are looking forward to taking this partnership further not just to empower students but also to help the education sector to be more competent that will then be useful for the industry in general.
“This is like a test that we are doing in the University of Ibadan because we also want to see results. We want to make sure that the laboratory is in use.
“It won’t be as if the university is just waiting for Schneider Electric to provide everything or fund all the operations; they also have a part to play. We are looking to see that drive in them which connotes ownership.
“In the end, the more competent we make the upcoming workforce in Nigeria, the most likely we have local content i.e. Nigerians being able to get to Senior Management position in the company rather than bringing in expatriates,” he added.
On the choice of the University of Ibadan he said: “UI provides the platform to give students access to the Schneider Electric Energy University where they can access for FREE over 200 courses in Energy Management, leading to internationally recognised certification” he said.
While expressing gratitude and excitement at this gesture, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Idowu Oluyinka said the partnership is geared towards building capacity for UI students to leverage on the expertise and opportunities provided by Schneider Electric, a major global player in Power, Automation and Software.
The laboratory named Schneider Electric learning centre was commissioned by the Vice Chancellor Professor Idowu Olayinka, with the Dean of the Faculty of Technology, Professor Kolawole Ogedengbe and the Schneider Electric team in attendance.