PNG’s next generation of engineers

The Sustainable Highlands Highway Investment Program, cofinanced by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is not only developing critical transport infrastructure. The project is also training the next generation of civil engineers.

Graduate trainee engineers from the Papua New Guinea University of Technology, Maclayia Au and Rosemary Enoka, are currently working on the highway in Goroka.

Both young professionals talk with pride about how they intend to use their careers to improve rural communities’ access to basic services.

Au says she has seen firsthand the importance of good road connectivity for rural communities.

“In 2018, I was responsible for constructing a 7km long missing link road between the districts of Hagen and Tambul-Nebilyer with assistance from Japan. During construction I witnessed a sick patient being carried on a makeshift stretcher from beyond the end of the project in an attempt to bring her to Mt. Hagen general hospital for medical assistance.

“I was deeply moved; witnessing the hardship some communities go through to access basic services. That scene inspired me to do more as a professional to assist in nation building through the implementation of critical infrastructure development projects such as SHHIP.”

Enoka shared some advice for aspiring female engineers in a traditionally male dominated field, saying: “Becoming a civil engineer is very challenging, so be prepared mentally in entering the workforce. With the ongoing issues on gender inequality, the idea of becoming an engineer is great to prove that we are just as equal as men and are able to engage in male dominated profession too.”

Au agreed, adding: “My advice to young girls who aspire to become engineers is to work hard. There is no other secret to it. Discipline, commitment and dedication to the goal you set will go a long way to you achieving your dream.”

(From left: Graduate trainee engineer, Rosemary Enoka, at work on the reconstruction of the Highlands Highway. Maclayia Au, also a graduate trainee engineer, was inspired to work on nation-building infrastructure projects like the ADB and Australia-supported rehabilitation of the Highlands Highway)

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