The Millennium Development Account (MIDA) has provided some selected female engineering students from six tertiary institutions with practical internships to empower them with the skills needed in the power industry.
In partnership with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Energy Commission, the batch of 50 engineering students, drawn from the technical universities and institutes, were mentored for three months during their vacation.
This was made known at the closing ceremony for the first cohort of interns drawn from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Accra, Kumasi and Koforidua Technical Universities and the Akwatia Technical Institute.
MiDA, under its four–year Ghana Power Compact Internship and Mentoring Programme, is seeking to use part of the Compact Fund to address the gender imbalances by supporting women who have opted to read engineering at the tertiary levels.
Mr Kofi Boadi, an official from MIDA, said very few women were engaged in the power sector as engineers and so MIDA, under the programme, would ensure that for the next four years more than 300 female Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) students would benefit.
He said apart from facilitating the practical attachment and supporting the interns with transportation and some allowances they would be carefully monitored to ensure that they had job placements in the energy sector.
Dr Cherub Antwi-Nsiah, the Director of Gender and Social Inclusion at MIDA, said the project was an intervention to support women to have the requisite technical know-how to be engaged in the energy sector.
She said the project sought to ensure that STEM students from the senior high schools would not deviate from the sciences or the engineering career and eventually help demystify the perception that engineering was a male domain.
Mrs Cynthia Amartey, the General Manager of Performance and Rewards at ECG, commended MIDA for the intervention and expressed the optimism that the internship and mentoring would motivate the girls and help them stay in the engineering field.
She expressed regret that each year the technical institutions graduated hundreds of female engineers, yet only a few stayed in the sector adding: “The ECG with its staff strength of more than 6,000 has only one female director in the engineering department.”
Vanessa Manya, a former Science and Maths Quiz participant, and now an engineering student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, said: “The training was a real eye opener to the practical aspects of the theories we learnt in school”.