Developing Engineering Talent in Africa

Getting the relevant technical and leadership skills is a common stumbling block for university and college graduates wanting to enter the job market. That’s one of the reasons internships, like the one offered by GE Power, exists. Introduced by the global digital industrial company in 2015, the GE Power Internship programme is designed to give Ivorian engineering students a headstart in their careers. Offered in partnership with the National Polytechnic Institute Houphouet-Boigny in Yamoussoukro, the programme aims to develop talent locally by giving the interns exposure to a diverse workplace, including a stay in Ghana, where the predominantly French-speaking young scholars learn English so they can compete globally.

Speaking on the benefits of the programme, Elisee Sezan, the Executive sponsor  of the programme says, “We strongly believe in developing talent locally. It’s not only beneficial in terms of bringing work to the region, but also making sure that the perspective of the region is within GE as well. Having that diversity is going to help the company grow.”

Christelle Sahue, a current GE Power intern has ambitious plans to give back to her country and continent. “Africa and my country, especially, need power for development. Only 1/3 of Africans have access to electricity,” says the 24-year-old who hails from the city of Gagnoa.

“My will is to help bring affordable and reliable power to my country and my continent. This will be possible through power plants implementation. I’m already working in the power sector, so I’m not far from my goal.”

Christelle’s internship began with a basic learning of the fundamentals of the GE Power business and an overview of the company’s other businesses in the sub-Saharan region. She also got a chance to work on smaller individual projects to present to the entire office. As she prepares to wrap up her internship, the mechanical engineering student is working with a personal mentor on her area of focus.

“I’ve learnt a lot about energy in Africa. I’ve also been involved in organising volunteer activities, and it has helped develop my leadership skills. This internship has been beyond my expectations.”

As GE prepares to open applications for the 2018 intake, the company is looking to hire the current group of interns after they graduate. Christelle can barely hide her excitement at the prospect of working for the multinational. “After completing my studies this year, I’d love to work for GE. I’m interested in GE Power Digital.”