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My Internship/Work Experience at Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) ICTBANS JV BY Moro Sabtiwu On 15/11/11 At Faculty of Engineering Home Coming University

y of Ghana Good Afternoon, Distinguished guest, staff members of the engineering faculty, fellow alumni, students of the faculty. Ladies and Gentlemen, I deem it a privilege and honor to be invited to share a quintessential experience right after graduation; working with an engineering firm (ICT-BANS CONSULTANCY) engaged by MiDA to monitor the George Walker Bush N1 Highway project. Considering the purpose of this momentous occasion, I would like to touch on my expectations before accepting the offer and my experience so far on the project. When this offer was presented to me by the department and two other students, I initially agreed passively to the offer because I was confronted with so many questions and concerns regarding the training I was about to undertake; I wondered whether the 4-years of lectures and inter semester internships would give me the requisite ability to work effectively in this multi-national company. I also felt some nervousness anticipating consequences of a mistake on my side leading to failures (engineering) due to lack of related experience. Furthermore, I thought about how well I could transfer my knowledge in materials Science and engineering to a different field which is mainly civil engineering oriented. Thus I bothered about whether the responsibilities which would be given to me would be within my capabilities. However, the multi-facetted nature of my undergraduate programme; material science engineering (field of study that looks at the relationship between structure and properties of a material and also the use of such information to design or engineer materials to possess predefined properties) and to a large extent the motto of ESUG; We make things work bolstered my decision to take up the challenge. Indeed, I am glad to say that I have made things work and here I am to share my joy and experience with you!

I have been with the consultancy firm as a trainee engineer since 01/10/10. The training in one aspect involved monitoring quality or workability of concrete for casting beams, culverts, Deck slabs for fly-over inter alia). In another sector called earthworks I was taken through applications of base and sub base materials and cement stabilization including testing of compactness of every base material and their optimum moisture content using novel radioactive equipment called TROXLER which could record the afore-mentioned parameters at go. I also monitored asphalt application. Optimum parameters before application of asphalt on site are ensured. In all cases I was trained to supervise the preparation of test pieces for laboratory test. For example after casting concrete cubes had to prepared for compressive strength test to evaluate the corresponding strength of structure on site over a period of time. For asphalt, a technique called core cutting is done and tested at the lab to ascertain the validity of the composition of the asphalt applied on-site and the design submitted to the asphalt plant operator. In general it was more of a quality control exercise. It is worth mentioning that, the challenges on site are uncountable. However one requires elements such as ingenuity and a certain level of countenance to surmount some of the inevitable challenges. I would like to mention a few; controlling intractable artisans and labourers who because of their several years of experience in construction would not take instructions from me, A small boy Supervisor, as they call me, citing my university degree as the only difference. Also especially for the grown ups, some claimed they are as the same age as my father, others also felt they have sons older than me and that I should not to impose strict measures on them even if their actions are compromising the integrity of vital component of the project. For my superiors they sometimes pre-assumed I am acquintained with certain concepts considering my background and therefore gave assignments with no instruction as to how they can be done. I have managed to overcome many of the challenges but since working life is a lifetime exercise, I always anticipate difficult moments and I can with all confidence say that I am ready for them because I needed to be proactive ingenuous, possess mental alacrity, have teamwork spirit and tolerance to be able to overcome the challenges. I must say my absence from post is really felt anytime I am indisposed for even a couple of working hours by the labourers I supervise. Now, I do receive great deal of cooperation at work. The knowledge acquired from the faculty, and the experiences from the field have opened new horizon for me in my practice as an engineer, I am also exploring more and more opportunities. To the continuing students I urge you to master the theoretical concepts you learn from the lecture rooms adequately because on the field, it is more practical and the mastery of

manipulation of certain theories help to solve unforeseen problems on site- a quality required of engineers. In general a bit of common sense from the sociological point of view is required to excel on the field. Also remember to improve on your inter-personal relation for it allows every body to open up to you and be ready to offer any assistance. Casting my mind back to school days, I always complained that very little practical exercise was done due to lack of facilities in my department. This tends to retard the progress of any project at hand. Students are not able to exploit the use of laboratory equipment in various institutions they undertake their rather short internships. Thus accessibility to state-of-the-art laboratory equipment is not realized in the university. I therefore call on stakeholders of the department to come to our aid for it is through modern laboratories that edge-cutting research can be performed in other to meet international standards. Also, students would be adequately prepared to fit into industry and research institutions. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the former Dean and the department of materials science and engineering for their unrelenting contribution to making this partnership a success.

Thank you.