Clintonel Innovation Centre seeks corporate partnership for students’ job competence

Tochukwu Clinton Chukwueke, the founder of Clintonel Innovation Centre (CIC), has advocated for increasing universities and industry partnerships to help students develop specialised skills and knowledge needed to compete positively for high-demand engineering jobs.

Chukwueke explained that the CIC in Abia State has established a strategic alliance with universities for students to acquire practical experiences in undergraduate engineering programmes such as computer, electrical, mechanical and software engineering.

According to him, “Students benefit from innovative cross-disciplinary collaborative programming combining traditional engineering education with skills associated with entrepreneurship, collaboration, and creativity.”

“CIC is providing the next generation of engineers with the expertise they need to thrive in the knowledge-based economy, adding that it is advancing partnership with universities for an innovative curriculum that gives students access not only to training across a variety of engineering disciplines but also to a number of critical skills employers are looking for in offering high-value jobs,” Chukwueke said.

Furthermore, the CIC boss explained that the centre organised the Nigerian Genius Engineering Competition (campus edition) last month, which brought together Nigeria’s brightest minds in tertiary institutions to solve Nigeria’s toughest engineering and manufacturing challenges.

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“Forty-five tertiary institutions were shortlisted for the competition, out of which four made it to the finals in Aba. Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Federal University Otuoke (FUOTUOKE), Federal University of Technology Minna (FUTMINNA), and University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) were the four tertiary institutions selected as finalists.

“The teams spent two weeks at the Clintonel Advanced Engineering Centre (AEC) Aba, learning advanced engineering skills and deploying precision manufacturing technologies to create engineering and manufacturing solutions for Nigeria.

“These young geniuses spent two weeks at the centre undergoing intensive training on engineering and different manufacturing processes including critical thinking, problem-solving, product design and development, computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), 3D printing, laser engraving, laser cutting, CNC lathe machining, CNC 4-axis machining, welding, fabrication, metal casting among others,” he explained.

Moreover, Chukwueke disclosed that a team of experts mentored and guided the students (contestants) for the 2-week period as they deploy the skills acquired to design and build different engineering products and solutions.

And following an assessment conducted by the experts, UNN was ranked first in engineering education after winning the Genius Engineering Competition.

Team UNN received a cash prize of N1 million. LAUTECH took the second position, FUOTUOKE, third and FUTMINNA, fourth position.

The finalists were ranked according to their performance (scores) in the competition. Destiny Benstowe, a contestant from Team UNN shared her experience after the competition.

“The Nigerian genius programme taught me one very valuable lesson about my career and that is that in engineering you need a mentor who always makes things faster and easier and quicker and the directions that you get from mentors are immensely powerful and so for me, it’s a beautiful experience.

“The challenge boosted my confidence in my ability to build engineering products and my ability to rapidly produce prototypes. Bringing my engineering design to life has greatly appreciated, and I am now able to engage confidently with 3D printing and CNC machining challenges.”

“It has also allowed me to bring to life the theory and knowledge from my engineering discipline and made me a stronger team player.” “It’s a beautiful learning experience. I think this is the first time I’m building a project of this size and we were able to do that in a matter of two weeks.

“We have gone a really, really long way in just two weeks. We have learnt a lot, and we have experienced a lot. We have engaged with a lot of knowledge and experiences. I think these two weeks in the story of our lives will be unforgettable,” she said.

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