Nigeria is set to boost its manpower in the aviation sector having signed a partnership with the Republic of Ireland for the development of Aviation Studies in Nigerian universities.
The partnership, which was signed yesterday in Abuja, will result in Newcastle Aerodrome, a renowned aviation academy in Ireland, opening centres for Aviation Studies and commercial pilot certification in Nigerian universities, starting with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, (UNN) and Igbinedion University, Okada (IUO)
Speaking during the launch of the partnership, finance director of Newcastle Aerodrome, Mr Joe Simpson said both universities have come together in partnership with an international Aviation school (Newcastle Aerodrome) to enrol students to train as pilots.
“Both universities will work in conjunction with Newcastle staff, spending part of the course in Nigeria learning the syllabus and sitting mock exams and the remainder in Ireland sitting the state exams and learning to fly. This will afford them the opportunity to gain world-class training, with cross-cultural, inter-continental experience. This is a game-changer in Aviation training,” Simpson said.
In his remarks, minister of state for Education, represented by his senior adviser, Projects, Engr. Adewale Adenaike, said the partnership is a very good thing to happen to Nigeria, noting that it would help address the issue of dearth of manpower in the country’s aviation sector.
He noted that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari will support anything that would improve knowledge and expand Nigeria’s technical expertise in every area. That is the reason government is looking for partnerships with the private sector.
He commended the Irish government through Newcastle Aerodrome for bringing this opportunity to Nigeria and promised that other universities will key in to make Aviation Studies part of their courses.
Deputy head of mission, Embassy of Ireland, Mr Ronan Mullin, in his remarks, said Ireland is a world leader in education and aviation and Newcastle Aerodrome has combined these two fields to make a really successful enterprise. The nature of this partnership will provide benefits in both ways: Nigerian universities are gaining good experience and the Nigerian students would have the opportunity to fly in Ireland and Newcastle Aerodrome and the aviation industry will benefit too.
Also speaking, deputy governor of Edo State, Mr Phillip Shuaibu expressed delight with this partnership because Edo has become a hub for commercial activities.
“Since this administration started that is what we have been doing and our emphasis is more on employment generation and youth development. So this partnership is already keying into our own programs. Just last two months we made a pronouncement to have another airport in Edo state and we are almost going into partnership with two other agencies to create first an airstrip, which will become an airport. And we are also looking at working the ministry of aviation to expand the one in Benin to an International airport. So we are joining you to say there is need to train these pilots. So we will have adequate capacity because expansion is already on. So we welcome Newcastle Aerodrome to Edo State. And not just Igbinedion University, but also University of Benin, Edo State University, Uzare will also be going in.
Vice Chancellor, UNN, Prof. Charles Igwe, said “I want to thank the Newcastle Aerodrome for partnering with University of Nigeria.
“Aviation studies especially that of training pilots, is one that in rare in any university curriculum in Nigeria.
This is one area that we have not delved into. We will have enough interests from applicants.
We will ensure that the program succeeds in UNN.
Newcastle Aerodrome said it choose to start its African expansion with Nigeria because of the availability of students, the English language and the needed capacity.
The student will get full pilot certification with globally recognized standards
The training will start in Nigeria and complete in Ireland and it will take two years.