The Keynote Speaker and Pioneer Director, Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) of the University, Professor Chryss Onwuka has called for the support of relevant stakeholders in SIWES in meeting the demands for work-ready graduates, who are familiar with organisational practices.
Professor Onwuka made this call while delivering the Keynote Address at a 2-Day Step Down Capacity-Building Training For Departmental SIWES and Farm Practical Year (FPY) Coordinator and College representatives, titled, “Enhancing Work Integrated Education in Nigeria: The Scenario We Have, The Future We Want”.
The University Don who disclosed that contrary to the allusion that Nigerian graduates are inexperienced, unemployed and unemployable, SIWES was established as a skills based training programme, designed to prepare and expose University students to industrial work situation and address growing concerns among industrialists about the quality and skillfulness of the country’s graduates.
He stated that the philosophy of SIWES is to ensure the proper training of University students in preparing them for the world of industrial work.
Professor Onwuka pointed out that with enhanced work-integrated education in Nigeria, the gap which exists between the institution and the industry can be closed if all stakeholders which include students, supervisors, institutions, industries, and government play their roles by ensuring proper SIWES placement, timeliness in placement sourcing, proper supervision of participants, best practices in SIWES supervision, Quality Assurance in Training and supervision, use of Information technology and funding.
The former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) recommended the need for institutions to continually expand their resource base in quality and quantity, provide adequate budget for Departmental and SIWES Directorate for placement sourcing and supervisory visits to the field, adopt and intensify the use of Information Technology in the sourcing of placement nationwide, as well as not leave the selection of placement completely to students.
Professor Onwuka further suggested that industries should be invited to establish micro schemes on campuses as their contribution towards students’ training and development while soliciting that the Federal government should endeavour to make funds available.
In her Goodwill Message, the Area Manager, Industrial Trust Fund (ITF), Mrs. Funmi Coker who was represented by the Head of Training, Mrs. Temitayo Quadri commended the University for organising the Workshop.
She said SIWES is part of the approved Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BAS) for SIWES-approved undergraduate degree programmes in Nigerian Universities, adding that it is planned and structured with specific career objectives, geared towards developing participants’ occupational competencies, in order to prepare students for post-gradation real work situations.
Earlier in his Opening Address, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kolawole Salako who was represented by the Chairman, Committee of Deans and Directors (CODAD), Professor Johnson Adewumi disclosed that the optimal achievement of SIWES mandates, goals and objectives is highly dependent on the quality of Coordination of SIWES activities at all levels. Also on the diligent performance of the coordination and supervisory roles and responsibilities by SIWES Directors, College representatives and Departmental SIWES and FPY Coordinators hence the need to invest in their capacity-building at all levels.
He stated that the Step-down Capacity-Building training is one of the outcomes of the Retreat organised by the ITF in December 2017 at Wemby Suites, Abeokuta and October 2017, at Songhai Training Centre, Port-Novo, where the University was appropriately represented.
Professor Salako said that it is the University’s expectation that the Workshop will further build the capacities of SIWES College representatives, Departmental SIWES and FPY coordinators towards the desired scenario and more effective SIWES supervision and coordination.
In her Opening Remarks, the University SIWES Director, Professor Grace Sokoya disclosed that the Directorate operates as a link between FUNAAB, the National Universities Commission (NUC), the SIWES Division of ITF, the Industries and organisations where the University’s students acquire relevant skills and experience.
She stated further that major mandate of the Directorate is to co-ordinate the acquisition of Relevant Production Skills (RPSs) of students during their IT, in order to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge acquired in the classroom and actual practice in the industrial world.