Local students join Parc Eolien Taiba N’Diaye for three-month apprenticeship

Lekela is committed to enhancing gender equality throughout our organisation. A key focus area of our ongoing work is increasing the participation of women in the renewable energy sector, particularly in more technical roles where women have been historically underrepresented. To this end, we recently established a new Female Apprenticeship program that offers female engineering graduates the opportunity to apprentice on our projects. These apprenticeships give budding engineers insight into project operations and activities, as well as the various roles that come together to successfully run a large scale renewable energy project.

This summer, we’ve welcomed two apprentices to Parc Eolien Taiba N’Diaye, our 158.7MW wind farm in Senegal. Ouissal Bourich and Fatoumata Diouf are civil engineering students at the nearby Ecole Polytechnique de Thiés, who we’ve partnered with on this programme.

As part of their apprenticeship, Ouissal and Fatoumata carried out a project to study and propose improvements to PETN’s internal roads and their drainage systems.  This has been a vital project, with both Ouissal and Fatoumata working hard to assess damage to the tracks, create solutions and develop a plan to maintain the roads going forward.

Throughout their time with us, Ouissal and Fatoumata have greatly developed their technical skills, but also their understanding of how we approach all our projects through the lens of social impact.

“It’s had a positive impact for sure. If the track’s problems are solved, transportation becomes more comfortable and faster, reducing delays and damages to the wind farm” says Fatoumata. “I’ve learnt that an energy project isn’t just about the technical aspects, and the social side is equally important – environmental management and working with the local population makes a big contribution to a project’s overall feasibility and sustainability.”

When we asked both Ouissal and Fatoumata what drew them to renewable energy, the answer was clear: renewables are a vital part of the energy transition. “The energy sector is undergoing a vast transformation, and there has been a massive investment boost in the renewable energy sector” says Ouissal.

Fatoumata adds, “This is a really interesting field that offers us a chance to diversify our energy supplies. The only thing we can do is minimise the impact of the energy we use through renewables, which are clean sources of energy, with no threat of running out of sunlight, wind or tidal waves, unlike fossil fuels.”

As Ouissal puts it, renewables are crucial in our fight against global warming and climate change. “Renewables have countless benefits – being clean sources of energy is just one. We need more and more people to develop ideas and help bring technology forward.”

Finally, Fatoumata adds, “There is so much room in the industry for new and experienced engineers to bring new skills and ideas. I think that I can make a positive contribution to this industry.”

Young women like Ouissal and Fatoumata are the future of the energy industry in Africa. It’s been fantastic to see them both develop their skills and grow their passion for creating solutions during their time with us.