The story of Elizabeth; a welder at Newmont’s Akyem mine

Published: 21/08/2016

Elizabeth Amofa, an employee of Newmont Ghana’s Akyem Mine grew up in the mining community of Obuasi. Like many other mining communities, Obuasi has spawned a mining industry that is predominantly male.

Growing up however, Elizabeth developed the passion for welding and made up her mind to succeed in it regardless of the widely held notion that it was the preserve of men.

“When I was growing up, I realized that most women felt comfortable with vocations like hair dressing and dress making; I was not interested in such jobs. I told myself that I wanted to be different; I wanted to succeed in a male-dominated trade,” she said.

Buoyed by this ambition, Elizabeth got the opportunity to work at a local construction company as a welder. There, her struggle to show that she was just as good as her male colleagues began. As she recounts, the difficulty of the job almost made her give up but then, she remained resolute to achieve her dream.

“I immediately realized that the profession was male dominated due to the heavy duty equipment we had to use. I thought about giving up, but after a while I decided to stay focused.

For seven years, she worked with six other mining & construction Companies until she finally had an opportunity to work full time with Newmont Ghana’s Akyem Mine. She was recruited as a welder into the Mine Maintenance Unit of the company.

In a matter of 4 years and 5 months, Elizabeth has risen to become the lead hand at the Welding Section of the Mine Maintenance Workshop and also operated equipment such as light vehicles, tele handlers, fork lifts, and overhead cranes.

For her, the dream now is to be a Welding Supervisor in the near future. She is certain that the environment created at Newmont offers her an equal chance to reach her full potential.

Newmont Ghana has a deliberate strategy to create a more inclusive workplace where all employees can thrive and achieve their best potential. The company’s Diversity and Inclusion programme seeks to, among other things, increase the representation of women in the organization and nationals in leadership positions. This strategy, Elizabeth explains, has boosted her confidence in her ability to achieve her career ambitions.

“The Company’s Inclusion and Diversity strategy creates an enabling environment where everyone is accepted and is part of the Newmont family. My male team mates are a great inspiration to me. I support them in their work schedules and as such they do the same for me. I do my best to learn from them and I consult them in times of work-related challenges.”

“I remember when I was chosen to attend the Failure Analysis training in Ahafo and the Minerals Commission of Ghana’s Statutory Certificate Examination in Engineering. I had the opportunity to develop myself and move up the ladder as a Newmont worker. “With the establishment of the Women & Allies Network, more than ever, we as women are assured that we are part of Newmont and there are several opportunities available for our development.”

The introduction of the Women and Allies (W&A) Business Resource Group this year is central to Newmont’s global Inclusion and Diversity strategy. W&A seeks to enhance the representation and contributions of women through professional development and by building a more inclusive workplace culture. W&A is already making a difference among Newmont Ghana’s women. A key achievement is the recent W&A-advocated setup of two lactating rooms for breastfeeding mothers at the Ahafo mine.

Elizabeth is one of many beneficiaries of Newmont Ghana’s Diversity & Inclusion strategy and is hopeful that the environment created in the company would help employees contribute, develop and work together to deliver on its business strategy.