JA in partnership with General Electric (GE) Africa , embarked on a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Challenge with a focus on Engineering and its application, on Friday, January 22, 2016.
The community service event brought together 120 students from the Unity Cluster of Schools in Accra, to be mentored by senior executives of GE and staff of JA to build capabilities in engineering from idea to design and implementation.
Mr Jay Ireland, the CEO & President of GE Africa explained that the purpose of the event was to provide an opportunity for senior executives of GE and staff of the two organizations to interact with and contribute to the growth of young Ghanaians by giving them insight into the possibilities of their future professional lives. He noted that a similar campaign was held last year to raise awareness and stimulate interest in STEM careers among junior high school students and also prepare them for the reality of the contemporary workplace. This event gave senior management of GE the chance to share their career experiences with the junior high school students.
“For the young students, it is an opportunity to gain exposure to accomplished professionals at the peak of their careers and gain understanding that can help define their pathways to success,” he added. Mr Ireland noted that students were given the opportunity to share their experiences with water shortage in their communities, some of the adverse effects and solutions they have observed to address the issue.
Dr William Derban, board member of JA Africa & Director of Financial Inclusion & CSR at Fidelity Bank was also present and stated the event offers an excellent opportunity to young people in Ghana to work with a fully experienced youth entrepreneurship and work readiness focused NGO like JA Africa and Corporate Volunteers of GE.
The Marketing and Communications Officer of JA Africa, Maame Yankah also noted that engineering is the creative use of science, mathematics and technology to solve real-world problems and improve the lives of people and thus teaching students this concept at an early age is vital to preparing them for STEM careers. She said the event was an occasion for the students to work in small fun teams as aspiring engineers to build a water tower as a solution to their community problems. “Each group was assigned a budget and had to purchase materials for their project, but could not spend more than their budget. They had fake money, which they could use to purchase the materials to build the tower. This was to teach students how to work within a budget and still produce high quality products.” she added.
Osagie Ogunbor, Communications Manager, GE West Africa also remarked that students learned about engineering and how it often involves conflicting goals, adding that, engineering ethics helps engineers figure out how to use their moral principles to help balance conflicting goals.
“Engineering ethics are important for business because it builds trust in the engineer from the community and employers. It is for this reason that engineers have a great responsibility to serve and protect society in a fair and honest manner,” he said.