YOUNG ENERGY

The Africa Internship Academy (AIA) will launch its Young Energy and Power Professionals Africa (YEPP Africa) initiative

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The Africa Internship Academy (AIA) will launch its Young Energy and Power Professionals Africa (YEPP Africa) initiative at African Utility Week in May. Daniel Antwi, Co-founder of the AIA gives us the inside scoop.

The 17th annual African Utility Week, the leading conference and trade exhibition for African power, energy and water professionals taking place from 16 to 18 May 2017 at the CTICC in Cape Town, will introduce the Africa Internship Academy’s (AIA’s) Young Energy and Power Professionals Africa (YEPP Africa) project.

Students within the energy and power industries are invited to apply and participate in this year’s African Utility Week (AUW). The top 30 applicants who are selected will be sponsored to participate in AUW in Cape Town free of charge. These students will have complimentary access to the strategic conference and will be invited to a networking function co-hosted with Africa Internship Academy. A selection of recruiters, VIP guests and sponsoring companies will also be invited to this function.Daniel Antwi, Co-founder of the AIA, says opportunities also exist for organisations which have the development of African youth at heart to sponsor any number of the 30 students who will be attending the event. Applicants should demonstrate a passion for solving Africa’s power and energy issues.

Let’s start with some background on the Africa Internship Academy, your aims and activities.Africa Internship Academy (AIA) aims to tackle the issue of unemployment among the youth in Africa through our revolutionary internship module where skills acquisition, high level experience and mentorship are integrated into the workspace. Quite a number of employers have argued that skills constraint has been a major contributing factor to youth unemployment. Again, many young graduates find it very difficult to move out and become job makers in the market. Therefore, Africa Internship Academy stands to facilitate successful transition from academia to industry by ensuring that the skills of youth are honed early enough to match the labour market demands.

Can you please tell us about the impact of the academy Antwi said that Rwandan students studying energy-related courses stand to win some of 30 free scholarships to attend the African Utility Week slated for May 16-18 in Cape Town. Applications open next month.YEPP will bring together graduates who want to learn from each other, access thought leadership, conduct research to broaden their understanding of power and energy issues, raise funding for future solutions and further their career ambitions.“There is a lot of room for young people in the utility sector as long as they get the right skills to navigate,” said Antwi. The academy, he added, seeks to impact about 100 million youth in the next 10 years on the continent.

Any specific projects that you are involved in or planning that you are particularly excited about?

Africa Internship Academy has begun its monthly cohorts in Ghana. We look forward to rolling out same offices in many African cities by end of first half of 2017. Also together with the organisers of African Utility Week, this year 2017 we will be launching the Young Energy and Power Professionals Network which will be a network of ambitious graduates who wish to contribute to solving Africa’s power and energy issues.

Do you have any success stories that you can share about successful candidates and where they are now?

All our fellows have secured amazing internship opportunities from great organisations in Africa. Ecobank Ghana, requested to have all fellows if possible in Ghana to intern with them.

What are the main challenges in finding placements for interns?

Due to lack of skills constraints which is exhibited by students and graduates, most organisations do not see the need to offer internship opportunities. Some might not even see the need to dedicate time to supervising an intern who would only be there for a short time. Again, companies barely have enough space to accommodate interns and they are usually overwhelmed by the numbers especially during student vacations.

Internships are a win-win for all involved–don’t you agree?

Yes, I strongly agree. When HR is able to recognise potential early enough and eventually bring them on board, the recruitment process is easier and the intern would definitely feel valuable. The long-term benefits are more for the employer because staff who are former interns at a company are most likely to stay on with that employer hence building the reputation on the organisation as ‘employer of choice’.

What is your vision for the academy?

Africa Internship Academy (AIA) will be Africa’s leading facilitator for decent work and economic growth by ensuring that 100 million youth are transformed to identify and occupy their niche within the job market in the next 10 years.

What are the opportunities for young people in the power and energy sectors?

Considering the growing demand for power and energy due to population growth, areas such as renewable energy are exploited for more energy production. Having a network of Young Energy and Power Professionals can help young graduates on the continent. YEPP brings together graduates who want to learn from each other, access thought leadership, conduct research to broaden their understanding of power and energy issues, raise funding for future solutions and further their career ambitions There is a lot of room for young people in utility as long as they get the right skills to navigate.

You will be a partner at African Utility Week in Cape Town in 2017. What will this entail?

Africa Internship Academy will facilitate the network of YEPP Africa. As part of teaching youth to build their professional network from an early age in order to keep them abreast of activities within the industry, African Utility week wishes to invite 30 leading power and energy students/graduates across Africa. Students will have complimentary access to the strategic conference and will be invited to a networking function co-hosted with Africa Internship Academy. A selection of recruiters, VIP guests and sponsoring companies will also be invited to this function.

How can people apply to be part of the Young Energy and Power Professionals Africa Africa project?

An applicant should be currently enrolled as a student at an accredited University in Africa offering a degree in Energy, Gas, Power or a related field. Interested applicants should visit http://yeppafrica.net. All applicants are requested to agree with the Guidelines for the Applications and confirm their adherence to them by signing the application form.

What will be your message at African Utility Week?

Youth unemployment on the continent is a major epidemic and internship opportunities are an amazing solution to help maximise human capital development on the continent. Africa Internship Academy seeks to groom the continent’s youth with employable skills and real work experience either as job makers or job seekers. The onus now lies on corporate organizations and national youth agencies to embrace internships as the way to go. Stuart Lander, CMO at Internships.com, said: ‘You have a 7 in 10 chance of being hired by the company you interned with.

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