Vodafone Ghana celebrated another landmark moment in its crusade for workplace diversity and inclusion as it welcomed ten additional young women into its Female Engineering Student Sponsorship Programme (FESSP) in a ceremony held at its headquarters on 23rd May 2023.
Since its inception in 2011, the FESSP has been committed to bridging the gender gap in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines and advocating for equal opportunities for women. To date, the programme has proudly supported 65 female students from distinguished Ghanaian universities, enhancing their career prospects with financial aid, internships, mentorship, and direct access to job opportunities.
One such beneficiary, Nana Aba Acquaah-Harrison, serves as an exemplar of the programme's success. A recent Computer Engineering graduate from the University of Ghana, Acquaah-Harrison has thrived academically since joining FESSP in 2022, amassing an impressive array of accolades, including the Vodafone Prize for Best Graduating Female Student in Computer Engineering, and the Ericsson Best Graduating Female in Computer Engineering in 2022.
"The mentorship I've received from accomplished women in STEM has been instrumental in preparing me for the workforce and honing the skills I need to succeed," expressed Acquaah-Harrison. "Vodafone Ghana's FESSP initiative has opened doors for me that I never thought possible."
FESSP is designed to offer participants a well-rounded experience that readies them for thriving careers in STEM. The scheme selects brilliant female students from top-tier Ghanaian universities, providing them with financial support for academic expenses, a tablet, and a data allowance to support their studies. Participants in the programme gain industry exposure during internships at Vodafone Ghana while on school breaks and, after graduation, undertake their national service with the company, benefitting from continued mentorship and hands-on experience.
"Mentorship is a vital part of the FESSP, offering participants access to accomplished professionals who provide guidance and support as they embark on their STEM careers," stated Hannah Ashiokai Akrong, HR Director of Vodafone Ghana. "With this programme, Vodafone Ghana is actively addressing the gender STEM gap by financially supporting and mentoring female students pursuing degrees in engineering and technology."
The impact of the FESSP is evident in the achievements of its recipients, many of whom credit their success to the programme's support and mentorship. By providing opportunities for young women to embark on careers in engineering and technology, FESSP is making a significant contribution to narrowing the gender STEM gap.
As Nana Aba Acquaah-Harrison summarised, "Through the FESSP initiative, I have been able to pursue my passion for computer engineering and gain valuable experience through my internship with Vodafone Ghana’s technology team."
Vodafone Ghana's FESSP is a testament to the company's unwavering dedication to empowering women and reducing the gender gap in STEM disciplines. By investing in the forthcoming generation of female engineers, Vodafone Ghana is fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce that is poised to drive innovation and growth.