Catherine Wilson is an electrical engineer at Solar Taxi, a company that manufactures environmentally friendly electric vehicles. Catherine is fairly young. And in fact, she started her job at Solar Taxi just a week after she finished her national service. The opportunity found her in a rather unusual way. She saw the job ad on a friend’s WhatsApp status, and the rest … well you can hear the full story from Catherine herself below.
Have you always wanted to be an engineer?
Oh no. I wanted to be a doctor when I was in junior high school. Then I considered the idea of studying engineering when I was in senior high school. I remember wanting to do civil engineering. After more research on the engineering courses I realized electrical engineering has broader career opportunities. So yeah I went with electrical engineering, and I don’t regret it at all with how far I’ve come in my field.
Were you excited to get out of school?
It was really nice to be done with school. I remember this particular course that rocked me: Electromagnetic Field Theorem. To put it simply, it wasn’t easy. I was really happy to be done with school.
How were you able to land a job just a week after finishing your national service?
I did my service at Expro Oil and Gas in Takoradi. I started searching for a job somewhere in March when Ghana recorded some cases of the COVID-19 virus and the idea of being retained didn’t look promising anymore. I started working at Solar Taxi a week after my service ended. I saw the post on a friend’s WhatsApp status. I had not even heard of Solar Taxi before. So, I went online, read more about them and when I was convinced with what they do and how work is carried about there, I applied online. I was called for an interview at their head office at Lartebiokorshie in Accra. I went for the interview while still doing service and that was the start of this amazing journey.
I was selected to join the academy for a training session. The training was for a month. After that we were tested both theoretically and practically in order for the best to be chosen to work with Solar Taxi. I think it was my eagerness to learn that got me into Solar Taxi. It was my first time working on automobiles. I learnt so fast that in less than a month I could assemble a whole electric motor bike on my own.
Does Solar Taxi have a lot of women engineers?
The engineers here at Solar Taxi are not a lot, but the females are more than the males. In fact, when I came there was no male engineer in the engineering department.
How do clients react to a team of mostly women engineers?
We actually only come in contact with our clients when we go to install their home chargers for their cars or when they have any faults with their electric motor bikes. They usually get amazed when they see only females installing the chargers. It’s the same reaction for the motor bikes too when we’re out solving problems.
Tell us about a day in the life. What do you do?
There are four sections in the engineering department: the chassis section, the electrical section, the accessories section and the cover installation section. I moved from electrical section to the chassis section about two weeks ago, which is more mechanical and I’m learning a lot. I think that’s also one of the things I like here. They challenge you to do things you never thought that you could.
So now, what my day is like personally. Okay, so work starts at nine in the morning. We have a tool box meeting and allocate tasks. Our target is to get as many bikes assembled as possible. But other days we have to go out and work on all faults reported by clients. Sometimes we assemble four bikes in a day. And when we go out we sometimes end up working 12 hours in that day so a typical work day for me, I would say, is a tedious one.
What’s your favourite part of being an engineer?
My absolute favourite part of being an engineer is having the opportunity to be part of the problem solving process. The joy that comes with identifying a problem, finding solutions and seeing smiles on the faces of our clients, is inexplicable. It’s a privilege if you ask me, and very humbling too. I also appreciate the fact that I’m learning new things every day and I’m able to share my knowledge with other people.
Also, Solar Taxi has been great! I enjoy working with my co-workers. It’s a very light-hearted atmosphere every day which encourages me to go to work and deliver as I’m expected to, so everyone will be happy in the end.
Solar Taxi is a company that manufactures electric vehicles (tricycles, motor bikes, cars). These vehicles are are powered by solar energy for transportation purposes. The company also provides transportation services that fit into its agenda of creating a clean and sustainable environment.