Employees at the Community Affairs Department at Gold Fields Ghana’s Tarkwa Mine have taken a giant step to touch the lives of pupils in the company’s area of operations by instituting a Career Guidance and Mentoring Programme in selected schools in the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal and Prestea Huni-Valley District Assemblies.

Under the programme, the employees will contribute money out of their pockets and dedicate time to mentor pupils at selected basic schools. Huniso Basic School, Gold Fields Schools Complex and New Atuabo Community Schools Complex were chosen for the programme.

The Department has in the past voluntarily embarked on clean up exercises in the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipality.

This initiative is in line with Gold Fields’ vision to be “the global leader in sustainable gold mining” which encourages voluntarism amongst employees.

At its maiden event, the Department grouped themselves in three teams and each team met with final year students and teachers of selected basic schools to discuss topics such as: Course Selection at Senior High School level, Career Path Determination and Discipline. The Gold Fields’ team, who had their basic education in the area, shared their life stories of growing up in the mining communities and the challenges encountered in their education.

Speaking to pupils at the Gold Fields Schools Complex in Tarkwa, Community Affairs Superintendent at the Tarkwa Mine, Mr. Abdel-Razak Yakubu, who is a former student of the school pointed out that “the objective of the programme is to encourage the pupils to take their education seriously so as to take advantage of the numerous employment opportunities that exist in the mining communities”. The students were encouraged to pursue programmes that would prepare them for the mining industry.

It was disclosed that though the area hosts Ghana’s only mining university, the University of Mines and Technology, only 3% of the University’s student population is from the host municipality. The area is home to seven multinational mining companies yet only a small number of locals occupied senior positions in these companies because of the lack of skills and knowledge of residents in the sector.

To turn around this worrying state, employees of the Community Affairs Department decided to undertake this initiative and become role models for students in the area. Each employee adopted two pupils who have interests in pursuing mathematics, science and engineering programmes as part of the mentoring. It is the responsibility of the employee to be the academic and career mentor of these school children until their ambitions are achieved. The mentors have been tasked with guiding the students regarding scholarship avenues, programme selection, studying skills among others.

The Gold Fields’ employees also presented books to the pupils. In addition, the Primary School division of the New Atuabo Community Basic School was presented with a set of football jerseys. These, at a cost of GHC1, 800.00, were purchased with contributions from the employees.