·Labour Ministry, NUC hail, ITF Julius Berger initiative
In furtherance of its proactive and development-oriented CSR policy, engineering construction leader, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc has kicked off an initiative to develop the capacities of Nigerian womenfolk by awarding scholarships to females engineering students to assist the actualisation of their quest for university degrees in their chosen engineering fields.
Speaking at an award event recently held in Abuja, the Executive Director, Administration, Alhaji Zubairu Ibrahim Bayi emphasised the important place of women in national development. According to Bayi, “…It is generally recognized that when a woman is educated and empowered, her organization or employers, her family and her community are placed on a veritable pedestal of real development.” He added, “This is even as her country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) becomes increased and enhanced.”
Bayi further said that it is in Julius Berger’s recognition of the above strategic reality that the company actively celebrates the International Women’s Day as part of JBN’s annual calendared activities. “…our company, however, seeks to move beyond just mounting podiums to celebrate the International Women’s Day. Julius Berger seeks to further enhance the company’s and country’s productivity by proactively taking initiatives to develop the capacities of the Nigerian woman, by creating a level playing ground for women and indeed the girl child. To give effect to the above objective, the company has decided on the scholarship scheme to assist women in the technical disciplines”, Bayi stated.
The Julius Berger women empowerment scholarship scheme, Bayi also said, aims to foster the inclusion and participation of women in the otherwise generally male-dominated construction industry, adding that the pioneer scheme is for female engineering students in their second year of study in both States and Federal Universities.
Explaining how the scheme will operate, Alhaji Bayi said, “Applicants of the scheme are chosen at their second year of study after a rigorous assessment exercise. A cash grant of N100,000 is awarded annually to the selected candidates from their 200-level of study till their year of graduation, provided they continue to meet the qualification criteria of remaining in school, in the same course of study and not scoring below the qualifying Cumulative Grade Point Average, CGPA, until graduation”.
Bayi disclosed that of the 86 candidates selected from various institutions of higher learning and diverse backgrounds, four of the awardees were present at the event for physical presentation.
He emphasised that, “it is the vision of the company’s management that the Julius Berger Women Empowerment Scholarship Scheme shall progressively be an annual event and will grow both in count of beneficiaries and number of construction related disciplines, such as architecture, quantity surveying, land surveying, and others to be considered for the awards.
In its goodwill message to the event, the National Universities Commission (NUC), through the representative of the Executive Secretary, Mr. Boniface Odey, commended the initiative by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc. Mr Odey, who is a personnel of the NUC’s Directorate of Students Affairs said, “as a regulatory agency that is charged with the responsibility of ensuring qualiquality university education in Nigeria, we appreciate this laudable initiative of female scholarship awards by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc to deserving students in our Universities”.
Odey added that the initiative will also serve as an encouragement to aspiring female Nigerians who may erroneously think that engineering is majorly a course for their male counterparts.
“I want to commend Julius Berger for giving back to Nigerians in this laudable way. Over time, I’ve realized that the company is noted for its track record in holistic service covering planning, design, engineering construction and maintenance of infrastructures”, he added.
In his remarks at the event, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Daju Kachollom, said, “over the years, Julius Berger has been in the forefront of development of this country through its activities in the construction industry. It has reduced unemployment by providing direct and indirect jobs to thousands of Nigerians and other foreign nationals”.
He added that, “…this scholarship, which is given to female students will no doubt bridge the gender gap in the Nigerian engineering work space in the near future, because these females will graduate to take up jobs and leadership positions in the society.”
Noting that Women represent half of the population in most societies and should therefore have every opportunity to be the best versions of themselves at all times, the Permanent Secretary projected that Better results will mean increased well-being for both men and women, and the creation of a more socially just and sustainable Nigerian society.
The Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Engr. Dr. Lars Richter, was personally present at the event also along with the Executive Director Admin, Alhaji Zubairu Ibrahim Bayi. Other company officials present at the event included the Chief Risk Officer of the company, Mrs Shakira Mustapha, the Head, Human Resources, Olorunfemi Ojomo and the Head of Corporate Communications Department, Mr. James Agama, amongst others.
Cover pix: L-R: Rep. Exec. Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Boniface Odey; Rep., Ministry of Information & Culture, Odo Pascal Tochukwu; Rep., Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour & Employment, Abuja, Ejeh Dennis; JBN’s Managing Director, Engr. Dr. Lars Richter; some of the JBN Scholarship Awardees; Uche Dorathy Chinelo, Nabila Balogun and Obi Alexis; JBN’s Exec. Dir. Admin., Alhaji Zubairu Ibrahim Bayi; JBN’s Chief Risk Officer, Mrs. Shakira Mustapha; Rep., Dragnet Solutions Limited, Gladys Etcheri; Rep., Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Umar N. Lafai and JBN’s Head Of Human Resources Dept., Mr. Olorunfemi Ojomo at the Julius Berger Female engineering scholarship award event in Abuja, recently.