Social Responsibility

University academics share engineering expertise in Rwanda

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 10:33:00 GMT

Two senior engineers from the University of Manchester have been re-united with former students after visiting Rwanda to help plug a skills gap.

Professor Andy Gale and Dr Paul Chan from the University’s School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering ran a three-day project management training course for the Rwanda Housing Authority in the capital city Kigali.

The Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA) leads the development of infrastructure projects in Rwanda and the agency is, for example, currently supporting the Rwandan government build ‘model villages’ as part of the latest efforts to modernise rural settlements.

The training course was delivered in partnership between the RHA and the University’s own Equity and Merit scholarship programme, which aims to assist talented but economically disadvantaged students from Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.

“The original idea for the training in Rwanda came from our students who had been studying project management at Manchester and identified a skills gap in their home country,” explained Andy Gale, leader of the University’s Management of Projects research theme.

“We thought it would be an excellent opportunity to support project managers in Rwanda and also give us a chance to reconnect with our graduates.”

Joanne Jacobs, who leads the University’s Equity and Merit Scholarship Programme, added: “Andy and Paul have been fantastic supporters of our relationship with Rwanda - and their work demonstrates how the Equity and Merit scheme helps to make a difference in so many ways.”

The training trip was a follow up to an earlier visit when Jean De Dieu, a Rwandan Equity and Merit Scholar graduate who had studied MSc Management of Projects, wrote to Joanne Jacobs asking if Professor Andy Gale could run a workshop for industry and government.

Andy and Visiting Professor Mike Brown, former Head of Project Management Centre at Rolls-Royce, had already developed a Project Management Master Class which had been delivered internationally. They took a version of this masterclass to Rwanda and, with the support of senior Rwandan and British officials, delivered it in collaboration with local firm NPD, Rwanda’s leading civil engineering and construction company.

The pioneering event attracted media interest.

Equity and Merit scholarships are currently available for up to 16 full-time campus-based postgraduate taught master’s students and up to 10 master’s by distance learning for academically excellent young professionals from Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. The scholarships are jointly funded by the University and its donors, while the University covers the tuition fee in full and the generosity of donors covers students’ living costs, flights to the UK and visas.

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