Etisalat: Manpower development vital to sustaining telecoms revolution gains

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Nigeria’s innovative telco, Etisalat, says continuous development of indigenous skilled manpower is central to the sustainable growth of the telecoms industry.

The telco said the gains of the popular telecoms revolution of 2001 could be swept off if the ageing population of the workforce is not replaced through conscious efforts of training the young ones.

Vice President, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs at Etisalat, Ibrahim Dikko said it was this realisation that informed the establishment Etisalat Telecommunication Engineering Postgraduate Programme (ETEPP) internship programme which was initiated in 2013 as its flagship Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), adding that it was designed for students to gain practical experience in the field of telecoms by undergoing a month-long work experience in various departments of the engineering section of Etisalat to support their course work in school.

He said: “The objective of this programme is to drive and improve the quality of local manpower in the telecoms industry by adding practical knowledge to the theory students have learnt in the school. Through this initiative, Etisalat is grooming local telecoms engineers that would take the industry to the next level between the next 10 and 15 years.”

He spoke during roll out of another set of postgraduate students of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria as part of its 2015/16 ETEPP. The course intakes were unveiled during the closing ceremony of the 2016 edition of the internship programme in Abuja.

Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at Etisalat, Stephane Beuvelet said the telco is proud to be involved in the telecoms industry skills development initiatives.

He said: “ETEPP and this internship are very important initiatives, designed by Etisalat to ensure that these students become assets to Etisalat and the telecommunication industry in future. This internship is a major step towards the development of rounded engineers that would excel in both theoretical and field work.”

He said the telco took the challenge of raising and improving local manpower in the industry after observing a gap in the universities offering courses in telecoms engineering in the country. “We are working in partnership with Plymouth University UK, the Etisalat Academy, UAE and the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

“In addition to the Students Masters’ programme, lecturers of the Ahmadu Bello University are also sponsored for their Ph.Ds in Plymouth University UK, while three best students of ETEPP will be at the Etisalat Academy in the UAE,” he said.

The Head of the Department of Computer Engineering, ABU, Dr. Yusuf Jibril said the initiative has impacted much on the department and the students in many ways. “Under this initiative, Etisalat and Huawei Technologies donated state of the art equipment to the department, exposed our students to the most recent practices in the telecommunications industry and also sponsored some of our lecturers for their PhD in Plymouth University UK. We really appreciate this good gesture and hope other telecommunication companies can emulate this,” he said.

The internship is part of the Etisalat Telecommunication Engineering Postgraduate Programme (ETEPP), a Master’s Degree course in Telecommunication Engineering at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria which is a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of Etisalat. This programme provides students with the opportunity to gain practical knowledge through a month-long internship stint with various departments of the technical division of Etisalat Nigeria.

One of the interns of the Etisalat Telecommunication Postgraduate Programme (ETEPP), Kelechi Okogwu, an M.Sc. student of Telecommunication Engineering, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria expressed his appreciation to Etisalat. According to him, the initiative presents a wonderful opportunity to anyone interested in developing a career in telecoms engineering, with the course content well thought-out between the faculty and Etisalat.

“The internship programme reinforces our class room knowledge; in fact we have benefited so much starting from the basics of telecommunication technologies, to the current developments in the industry, as well as a peep into the future of telecommunication engineering,” he said.

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