‘Women in Tech’ Learn about STEM Careers in Visit to GE Facility in Algeria
Most of us will go our entire lives without seeing a giant electricity generating gas turbine up close. But for GE engineer Fatma Benferhat, it’s an everyday occurrence – making her the ideal ambassador to introduce a group of Algerian university women to this powerful technology.
GE recently hosted a group of fifteen women from the National Polytechnics School,
The Engineering Institute of Electric Power (IGGE ex INELEC) and Algiers Preparatory School in Science and Technology (EPSTA) on a daylong visit to Algesco, one of GE’s largest turbine repair facilities of its kind in the world. The program was an initiative of the “Women in Tech” club launched earlier this year by GE in partnership with talent and startups accelerator space Sylabs.
Established following GE’s announcement in February that the company seeks to employ 20,000 women globally in technical fields by 2020, the club seeks to give young Algerian women a deeper understanding of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions through mentoring initiatives, conferences, workshops and hands-on visit such as the trip to Algesco.
During their visit to the facility located in Boufarik, the group learned about what types of jobs are available at the facility and received a tour of the maintenance center from Fatma.
“I joined Algesco in 2013 and was able to advance in my career, thanks to perseverance, commitment and always being willing to push the barriers” Fatma said. “I wanted to guide the tour because I wanted to make sure that these female students understood that a technical or mechanical job is open to ambitious women who want to live daily challenges. If they want to be specialized in this field, [their gender] is no barrier.”
Algesco CEO Bahi Bellatache said, “A center of excellence such as Algesco must have the best, and for this we must expand our talent pipeline,” adding that five of Algesco’s current group of 16 polytechnic school interns are women specialized in technical fields.
“Today’s visit is important for these young women who are curious to know more, and we are happy to give them the opportunity to walk out of the Algesco facility with a new vision of the technical professions.”
Created by GE, Algerian oil and gas company Sonatrach, and Algerian utility Sonelgaz, Algesco’s repair capacities cover gas turbines, steam turbines, centrifugal and alternative compressors and turbo-expanders. The center is equipped with the latest coating technologies, laser repair systems and machining technology.