In the earlier stage of science and technology education in Nigeria, students were graduating from their respective institutions without any technical knowledge or working experience. It was in this view that students undergoing science and technology related courses were mandated for students in different institution in view of widening their horizons so as to enable them have technical knowledge or working experience before graduating from their various institutions. The Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) was established by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in 1973 to enable students of tertiary institution have technical knowledge of industrial work base on their course of study before the completion of their program in their respective institutions. It was designed to expose students to industrial environment and enable them develop occupational competency so that they can readily contribute their quota to national economic and technological development after graduation.
The major background behind the embankment of students in SIWES was to expose them to the industrial environment and enable them develop occupational competencies so that they can readily contribute their quota to national economic and technological development after graduation. The major benefit accruing to students who participate conscientiously in Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) are the skills and competencies they acquire. The relevant production skills remain a part of the recipients of industrial training as life-long assets which cannot be taken away from them.
The main objective of the Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) program is to bridge the identified gap and practice of engineering and technology in tertiary institutions, also:
- SIWES provides avenue for students in higher institution to acquire industrial skills and experience in their course of study.
- Exposes students to work methods and techniques in handling equipment and machinery that may not be available in educational institution.
- Prepares students for post-graduation works.
- SIWES ease the transition from school to the world of work and enhance student’s contacts for later job. SIWES helps in fastening the student ability towards learning other skills once they’re through with their undergraduate studies.
BODIES INVOLVED IN THE MANAGEMENT OF SIWES
The Federal Government’s Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and many other supervising agents which are as follows: National University Commission (NUC); National Board for Technical Education (NBTE); National Council for Colleges of Education (NCE).
- The functions of the above agencies include among others to: Ensure adequate funding of the scheme; Establish SIWES and accredit SIWES unit in the approved institutions; Formulate policies and guideline for participating bodies and institutions as well as appointing SIWES coordinators and supporting staff; Supervise students at their places of attachment and sign their logbook and IT forms; Vet and process student’s logbook and forward same to ITF Area office; Ensure payment of allowances for the students and supervisors. Therefore the success or otherwise of the SIWES depends on the efficiency of the Ministries, ITF, Institutions, Employers of labour and the general public involved in articulation and management of the program. Thus the evaluation of SIWES in tertiary institutions in meeting up with the needs for the establishment of the program is necessary.
Brief History of the Establishment and Farm:
The Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) was established in 1980 at the lake Nwaebere Campus which was then the temporary site. Later in 1983, FUTO Limited was established and was placed under the School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology (SAAT). In 1993, the farm was re-established to be the permanent site of the university. The Farm is in three Sections which are as follows:
- The Crop Production Section.
- The Animal Production Section.
- The Agricultural Economics and Extension Section.
THE CROP PRODUCTION SECTION IS SUB-DIVIDED INTO: Commercial plot, Optional plot and Agro-forestry.
THE ANIMAL PRODUCTION SECTION COMPRISES: Poultry, Piggery, Cattery, Fishery.
THE AEC AND AEX SECTION COMPRISES THE: Watery can, Feeders, Hoes, Cutlasses, Machetes, Spades, Garden folks, Ropes, Pans and tapes, etc.