Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT)Society of Engineering Students Club held their 8th edition of mentorship workshop. The theme of the event ‘Building to Serve’,was chosen to refer to the additional concepts outside class that the students get to match them with the job world.
The engineering club invited a number of speakers. These were Kennedy Mwangi (Howard Humphreys), Benta Aseto (Barclays Africa), Eng.Nathan Ateka (SKF Ltd), Eng.Kariuki Muchemi (Interconsult Ltd), Eng.Job Ndege (Protocol Solutions), Eng.Kevin Amimo (Kenya Pipeline Company) and Dr.Patrick Ajwang’ (JKUAT). The speakers represented various engineering fields like electrical, mechanical, mechatronics, civil, soil water and biosystems engineering- all which are accredited courses at JKUAT.

Some of the topics conferred is the need for students to be patient when they get into the job sector, the need to have mentor(s), essence of consultation from colleagues and the desire to learn more.

The Managing Director of Protocol Solutions, Eng. Job Ndege urged the students to ensure they first meet the required standards which are above average academic grades and  have additional  knowledge like networking or programming so as to prosper in the engineering world.

He went ahead to talk about internship opportunities at Protocol solutions and highlighted the areas an attachee would be absorped  in. In his final remarks, he quoted ‘Any product is as good as the process which went into producing it.’

Mrs. Benta Aseto  described her daily routine at Barclays Africa, which involves interactions with a couple of customers from different regions. She summarised her whole presentation by defining five critical people that every student need to integrate.

These were:
1.    A peer- Someone who is of the same age as the student and assist the student in tackling issues that are likely to affect them at  that level.
2.    A mentor- Someone elder than the student, who can help the student on greater levels like in the job sector. The mentor builds the student spiritually and positively.
3.    A positioner- This person  acts as an inspiration to the student. They motivate the student to work hard and achieve goals similar to the positioner or even surpass the goals.
4.    A grounder- This is a person who has a better understanding of the student such that the student could easily share problems with.
5.    An accountable partner- This is a person who would help the students achieve their goals even in their job sector by offering guidance.

Being  a lady who is passionate about women empowerment at all levels, she encouraged the ladies to take up roles in the job industry and not feel intimidated. She went on to use herself as an example to the ladies through her joining  the 30% Club East Africa and being a member of the Steering Committee. 30% focusses on women  empowerment working with like-minded organizations to support the inclusion of women on company boards.

Eng. Kevin Amimo , a Chief Mechanical engineer at Kenya Pipeline Company Limited felt obliged to prepare students fot the job market.  “ I wish  to correct this notion that students have when it comes to the job sector and receiving enormous salaries. You need to be patient and give yourself  a period of about 6 years before the engineer-to-be starts receiving the large figured salaries.”

He insisted that the first thing students need to have is sufficient training on the tasks on a particular job. Eng. Amimo added that more input needs to be considered in networking in efforts to acquire different ideas from people and later use the ideas to better themselves.

Speaking as an alumnus of JKUAT and a mechanical engineer at SKF Ltd,Eng. Nathan Ateka appealed to students to join engineering bodies like IEK (Institute of Engineers of Kenya) and EBK (Engineers Board of Kenya). “There are benefits of joining such institutions as one can directly get  mentorship opportunities from the already existing corporate members that can boost your engineering paths.”

Kennedy Mwangi Kiunga, a Roads and Transport design engineer with Howard Humphreys E.A. Ltd said “learning to work together without discriminating each other leads to growth of teamwork and punctuality when tackling time-driven projects.”

On the other hand, Eng.Kariuki Muchemi Managing Director of Interconsult Engineers Ltd  persuaded the ladies to join the civil world and generally, engineering . He also touched on ability for one to exercise team building, communicate effectively and perform ultimately. These key principles, as he said, are majorly practised in the field, especially when dealing with a project.Besides, he insisted on the students on being  presentable throughout, as they are easily judged from their outward appearance.

Finally on the speakers was Dr.Patrick Ajwang’ a senior lecturer in JKUAT,department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. He coaxed students to pertake solid waste management methods that included: waste collection, waste transportation, waste segregation, waste recycling, waste disposal and waste control.He also mentioned a few water projects that he would wish the engineering students to work on: Maruba dam in Machakos, Chemususu dam in Eldama-Ravine, Umaa dam in Kitui and Badasa dam in Marsabit.

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