The Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers, NIME, on Wednesday, inaugurated the Girls Auto Squad Project to train 500 females in auto- mechanic in Lagos and Abuja.
The programme was organised by Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers, NIMECHE, in collaboration with Nenis Auto Care and Auto Lady Synergy Coy Ltd, Abuja.
Engr Robinson Ejilah, the National Chairman of the institute said that the project was being put together to address the problem of shortage of skilful population in the economy.
He said that building the capacity of girls and young women through productive skill acquisition would enable them to realise their potential and create wealth for the nation’s GDP.
“While this project intends to achieve this, on one hand, it also seeks to encourage gender inclusion and celebrate diversity as a deliberate social intervention project.
“It is employed to close the gender gap in the hitherto male-dominated automotive engineering sector in Nigeria by equipping socially vulnerable girls and young women with requisite technical skills and competencies through empowering and training programmes,” he said.
Also, Mr Jelani Aliyu, the Director General, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) said that girls’ empowerment was key to economic development.
He said that Nigeria should look beyond certification to capacity of individuals, what they could offer in the practical terms and not what they studied in school.
According to him, in other countries of the world, certificate is not relevant in getting employed, rather the skills acquisition is required.
He, however, said that the council was working with relevant stakeholders to ensure that Nigeria produces brand new vehicles at very affordable prices.
Mrs Joyce Adams, the CEO of Auto Lady Synergy Coy Ltd, said that Girls Auto Squad (GAS) was conceived as an advocacy and empowerment programme for disadvantaged girls especially Internally Displaced Persons(IDP).
She said that GAS was a direct response to the myriads of challenges facing young girls in urban centres, an absence of educational support and extreme poverty.
Adams said that the first phase of the project would reach 500 beneficiaries in Lagos and Abuja.
He said they would acquire the rudiments and relevant knowledge of running a mobile maintenance enterprise during the one-year course.
“They would receive ongoing mentorship and business management assistance to ensure that their enterprises are not only profitable but successful and sustainable.
“ The programme will provide a viable pipeline of skilled female technicians to establish their own entrepreneurial ventures by so doing the employment landscape will become more competitive and creative.”