It is strategic to state that the level of technology in a community is determined by the level of development on the engineering personnel and their commitment to the community. This is due to the fact that engineering personnel is one of the key innovators that shape and direct our society in terms of growth.
Engineers do not just invent and design machines, they provide opportunities to the community workforce and other institutions of the community. The community itself deserves everything that the person can offer it.
The true essence of community relations is to create a sustainable relationship atmosphere for an organization, career or profession. The need for creating a sustainable relationship is stressing on the provision for the workforce to thrive and attain objectives favourable to the community. The community where an engineering firm is situated becomes very vital to the growth and survival of engineering practice.
- The Concept of Community Relations:
The concept of community relations is explained to be the function of a community to sustain and maintain its environment to be favourable to institutions such as education, family, organization etc which they are situated in.
Lesley ibid cited in her book, Public Relations for Organizations the comparison of technology and advancements to the responsibility of a husband and wife in a family. She opined that engineers view community relations as the wife who takes care of the home and engineers as the husband that provides needs and support since engineering is coined out of the objectives of finding a solution to problems scientifically through designing and innovating technology.
Why Community Relations For Engineers?
In as much as community relations is to improve the social, economic, cultural and environmental status, it needs a platform for engineers to attain such status and to adapt the need for community relations, in order to grow. The reason is for them to be able to give the right solutions to the need of the community. This can be done through the following :
- Research on the composition of the community: the demographic, geographic, revenues, age range, social status etc.
- Research on the structure that is the strength and weakness
- Research on the problems which can involve: crime, pollution, employment, education, poverty, house shortage, power supply, the fertility of the land, unemployment range, inadequate health Supply etc.
Therefore, with the full knowledge of what the community entails, it is easier and less challenging to identify their problems, provide solutions and also adapt to the community which likewise would be a valuable addition to the community parastatal itself. The impact will naturally enable the community to take pride in an engineering firm which can bring the community into the limelight.
For instance, in Nigeria, Ewekoro community in Ogun State is globally associated with the Portland cement factory which has provided solutions in the form of Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR to the community by giving them good roads. Likewise, the industry has enjoyed the location of their stay harnessing the natural resources in its production. The IOCs explore the oil in the Niger Delta region of the country paying royalties and providing
infrastructure to the communities. More also, the Faculty of Engineering in the University of Lagos, Nigeria has been privileged by the school community to have full energy supply and has given privileges to the students and neighbouring technical schools to gain admission to study in the school. Community relations has helped the educational system as a whole.
Community Relations tools: In order for engineers to have a successful rapport with the community to aid their growth, the following tools can be used which are: meetings, facility visit, news release, news conferences, posters and leaflets, special event, meeting needs and courtesy calls on community leaders.
In addition, unwillingness to identify with community social-economic, cultural values expectations, ignoring community request for CRS, failure to identify early warning signals of a potentially festering discord in the community will affect the growth of engineering in the community. Thus, it is vital for there to be a communal relationship between the firm or organization and the community in other to have a good productive image, conducive and favourable environment to operate.