MONROVIA – Nineteen young Liberian university graduates have completed nearly a year of intensive internship at ArcelorMittal Liberia, under the company’s Young Professionals Program (YPP). The 19 interns were part of the YPP’s second cohort inducted in June last year.
Officially launched in 2019, the Young Professionals Program recruits highly motivated and talented young Liberians who are eager to seek job exposure at the company as interns. The successful interns were selected from a competitive rigorous process that included several interviews, written tests, and presentations.
During their period of internship, the young professionals were put through a structured career development program with a set of learning objectives where they were trained in several areas and were assigned professional mentors who regularly gave them tasks and feedback to help enhance their knowledge and skills.
Based on their fields of study and career interests each of the young professionals was assigned to a department where their progress was closely monitored.
As part of the program, the YPP interns received a monthly stipend, accommodation, medical care, and feeding from ArcelorMittal Liberia.
At a program in Buchanan Friday to mark the official closing of the second cohort, the interns in separate presentations revealed that the internship was impactful and has helped shape their professional journeys by strengthening their career paths and giving them hands-on practical knowledge that challenged them to adapt theoretical studies to practical applications in a diverse work environment.
In their presentations, individual interns praised the company for the opportunity provided them to actualize their educational knowledge and get groomed into a professional work environment built around a culture of health and safety as not just a requirement, but as an everyday way of life.
Interns were provided the opportunity to share with the audience of AML top and junior management staff and supervisors their contributions and takeaways, as well as challenges experienced during their internship and advanced recommendations to increase output and productivity in the sections where they were assigned.
“I came here as a novice to occupational health and safety but through several trainings like the certified safety practitioner training NEBOSH training, advanced diploma training, and accident investigation training, I was able to effectively contribute to inspections, developed trackers for all PSIF, site inspection, and Shop Floor Audits, assist in investigations, coordinated and delivered safety training to staff,” explained Jumamie F. Karnley, a graduate of the Cuttington University with a BSc in Biology who was assigned in the Health and Safety Department.
Assigned in the AML Environmental Department, Wonderlyn Wiefue, who graduated with a BSc Degree in Biology and Chemistry from the United Methodist University recounted her contributions to the results of the department during her internship.
“The last ten months have been an incredible learning experience for me. My journey as an intern has helped shape my professional and personal growth and has helped also shape my career aspiration. Over the last ten months, I have contributed to conserving our biodiversity by conducting a survey that captured and tracked major conservation species and we were able to translocate them from a threatened habit to the East Nimba Nature Reserve. Also, through the conservation awareness and sustainable agriculture project, we can now boast of a high reduction of deforestation within the AML concession,” explained Wonderlyn Wiefue.
The Young Professionals Program was given birth to in 2018 by the current Head of Human Resources and Organizational Development, Rose Kingston. On Friday, Kingston said her motivation to encourage the management on sustaining the program is because of her love for education and providing opportunities for young Liberians wanting to realize their full potential to contribute to their country professionally.
“I grew up through internship, I grew up through scholarship in all my schooling. I wouldn’t be standing here today without those opportunities. So, I made it my mission to always provide opportunities and to support where I can, to create opportunities,” she said.
For his part, AML CEO, Jozephus Coenen said he was amazed by the presentations made by members of the Cohort-two of YPP interns, especially with all of them recognizing the health and safety culture as a way of life, in every given professional field.
“I feel blown away by your presentations and confidence and one thing that really impressed me is the fact that almost all of you highlighted the issue of health and safety one way or the other. We are on the right track to take our safety to our employees and our communities because a good company does not kill its people,” CEO Coenen emphasized.
He encouraged the YPP interns to continue to preserve and always pursue learning and training opportunities.
“A degree is a starting point. It is the entry into the real world…the working world but you have a taste that an internship is very important. Now that you are here, it is a big start for a fantastic career. Again, never stop learning because what you learn, no one can take it away from you. What you learn gives you earning power as well.”
The ArcelorMittal Liberia Young Professionals Program, directly supports Pillar Two on the Economy and Jobs of the Government’s development roadmap, the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD)
With youth constituting 65% of Liberia’s population, addressing youth unemployment is a critical issue for the government and its partners, including ArcelorMittal Liberia, the biggest investor in the country.
Nine out of the first thirteen YPP cohort participants were employed by ArcelorMittal Liberia after their internship and have since grown into various mid-level and supervisory roles in the company.
The company is exploring opportunities for the just-ended second YPP cohort.