Linda Dede Nyanya Godji | September 1, 2022
Erica Kusi Amponsah lives in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, where she works at Solar Taxi as an electrical engineer. Currently, Mrs. Amponsah is the team leader for charging station installation in the engineering department. Throughout her journey towards her career, Mrs. Amponsah says she was often discouraged by male classmates who thought engineering was not for women. Nonetheless, Mrs. Amponsah is now successful and wants to give back by training more female engineers. She says: “It is quite amazing to be in this field because, when I wear my uniform and I am going to work, people admire me and ask questions about the work I do. This makes me feel proud of myself.”
This story is part of a series called Stars in the Field, produced as part of the Young Women in TVET project. Through this series, we profile women working in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector in Ghana. While not a typical “Farmer story,” we think these profiles can inspire your listeners and start a conversation about traditional and non-traditional jobs for men and women in your community.
It’s a Thursday afternoon and Erica Kusi Amponsah is preparing her team to install a charging station for a client who just purchased an electric car. She says: “Earlier today, I went to survey the client’s premises to ensure that the power output, earthen system, and circuit breaker are stable [enough] for us to install an electric vehicle charging station.”
Mrs. Amponsah lives in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, where she works at Solar Taxi as an electrical engineer. In 2019, she graduated from Sunyani Technical University with a first-class degree, and immediately joined Solar Taxi as an electrical engineer.
Currently, Mrs. Amponsah is the team leader for charging station installation in the engineering department. She is also involved in assembling and maintaining electric cars, motorbikes, and tricycles.
She explains, “Electric vehicles are new in the world, and especially in Ghana. It is a privilege to be one of the first people who are working on electric vehicles in this country.”
Mrs. Amponsah has already gained substantial experience in her career. In 2021, she participated in an internship program in Germany at a company where she helped install and maintain solar panels.
She says her passion for engineering came from her father: “When I was growing up, I was always interested to watch my father at home whenever he was fixing things like a faulty television, iron, and other electrical appliances.”
She adds: “Even though my father was an English teacher, his knowledge in fixing electrical appliances ignited my interest. I learnt a lot from him, and I think that was where the passion for electrical engineering started.”
This passion is the reason Mrs. Amponsah studied general science at Odorgonno Senior High School in Accra before university, where she was in a class with five other women and 115 men.
She says she disliked mathematics when she was growing up. But because mathematics is so important to engineering, she worked hard and excelled in the subject, as she now excels in her job.
But the journey to being an electrical engineer was not all rosy for Mrs. Amponsah. She says she was often discouraged by male classmates who thought engineering was not for women.
Despite this discouragement, she thanks her parents for being supportive from the beginning.
She adds: “I am lucky because the CEO at Solar Taxi where I work also believes in women. That is why the engineering department is full of women, with a few male interns. Most importantly, the support … from my husband, who is also an engineer, is massive and has helped me to come this far in my career.”
Apart from making money and being successful in engineering, Mrs. Amponsah wants to give back to society by training more female engineers.
She is currently one of the main facilitators for the Female Engineers Academy at Solar Taxi, where she trains young women to become engineers, regardless of their background.
Mrs. Amponsah explains, “The only thing that matters is your willingness to learn. So far, I have trained about 40 women who want to become electrical engineers.”
She says: “My advice to young women out there is that they should stay focused, persevere, and put their minds to what they want to achieve in this life. With hard work, they will sail through.”
Mrs. Amponsah is a role model to many in her community. She says, “A lot of people in my family are proud of me and look up to me. Others want to become engineers just because of me.”
She has never regretted her decision to pursue her passion in engineering. She says, “I want to do engineering all my life. Even if I stop doing field work one day, I want to become an electrical engineering consultant.”
Working in a field like electrical engineering, which is dominated by men, is exciting for Mrs. Amponsah. She says: “It is quite amazing to be in this field because when I wear my uniform and I am going to work, people admire me and ask questions about the work I do. This makes me feel proud of myself.”
This resource was produced as part of the Innovation in Non-traditional Vocational Education and Skills Training Project, INVEST, implemented by WUSC with funding from Global Affairs Canada.
Photo: Erica Kusi Amponsah installing a solar panel.