Students urged to develop interest in engineering

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Mr Jeffrey Coffin —  Regional Manager, KP Consulting, West Africa, addressing the participants
Mr Jeffrey Coffin — Regional Manager, KP Consulting, West Africa, addressing the participants

­­­The Regional Manager of Knight Piesold (KP) Consulting, West Africa, Mr Jeffrey Coffin, has urged students within second cycle institutions to develop self-confidence and pursue engineering courses to help contribute towards national development.

That, he said, would enable students to take a closer look at the environment, identify issues and constantly work at them, and develop simple technologies that would improve upon the living standards of their communities.

Mr Coffin made the comment in an interview on November 23 during the grand finale of the 2018 edition of ‘Schools Initiative Programme’ (SIP), an annual programme organised by KP Consulting to educate state-owned second-cycle schools on engineering.

This year’s competition which was on the theme: “Dams: A hands-on Experience,’ urged science departments of the four participating schools to design a model dam for construction, after being briefed and given two weeks to develop a sample as preparations towards the grand finale.

KP Consulting

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Mr Coffin said the annual contest was part of its corporate social responsibility and it also provided a platform to train students who would want to pursue any engineering related courses in the near future.

He stated that KP Consulting was an engineering firm into construction of bridges and dams, which fits into the current push of one district ,one factory and one village, one dam, and so it was appropriate to inculcate these ideas in students for them to be able to take up challenges.

Mr Coffin lauded the teams representing the participating schools for their skill and level of knowledge demonstrated.

The competition

The Chairman of the SIP Planning Committee, Mr Robert Boamah, said the competition was held to promote emphasis on practical training in education as the 2018 edition witnessed previous winners and runners up of the last editions.

He said for the past three years the project focused on model bridges but this year they decided to make it more challenging by moving a step further and introducing something new, which was also in line with the company’s core mandate.

Mr Boamah noted that the contest was preceded by a workshop held two weeks ago and teams were given foundation set ups so they could practise on two different dam configurations; hence the teams were tasked to construct dams which had the ability to hold water.

He reiterated that the contest was more challenging bur the skills and the performance displayed by the participants in this year’s edition clearly indicated they had unique skills in engineering which needed to be harnessed to enhance national development.

Mr Boamah, who doubles as the Senior Finance Officer at (KP) Consulting, urged students who had passion to pursue engineering courses to make good use of such laudable initiatives, adding that “for the past seven years, there had been more opportunities in the engineering field”.

Practical engineering design

The Senior Project Engineer at KP Consulting, Engineer Ama Nketiah, also stated that the participating students had had their capacity enhanced to actualise the many dimensions of science learned in class into a practical engineering design.

She was, therefore, hopeful that more female students would develop interest in pursuing engineering courses, adding that “there are few female engineers and they are making great strides and this should inspire young females that they are as capable as their male counterparts”.

At the end of the competition, Saint Mary’s Senior High School (SHS) was crowned champions in the 2018 edition of the Model Dam Challenge.

Other participating schools in the contest were Armed Forces SHS who placed second, whereas Presbyterian Boys SHS (PRESEC), Legon, and O’Reilly SHS grabbed the third and fourth position, respectively.

St Mary’s SHS for its prize received an air-conditioner, a projector and a projector screen specifically meant for their science department.

Armed Forces took away an air-conditioner and laboratory tools, PRESEC went away with a projector, while Oreilly grabbed an air-conditioner.