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Ghana: successful training in drone flights, photography and graphic design

Esther can fly the camera drone with confidence after the training course.

Ghana: successful training in drone flights, photography and graphic design

The Ghanaian-European Centre for Jobs, Migration and Development is mostly keen to reach women with its drone and camera training courses. The participants are delighted – especially with their new job prospects.

Esther is holding the remote control with its two small joysticks in both hands. A white drone equipped with a camera is hovering in front of her. Ester smiles and directs the drone safely through the air.

The 22-year-old took part in a three-month training programme organised by the Ghanaian-European Centre for Jobs, Migration and Development (GEC) in Accra.

The training was intended for young people, especially women. She received practical instruction that included digital photography. It’s still mainly men who fly drones or work in photography and graphic design in Ghana. But that’s about to change.

Esther demonstrating her skills as a drone pilot.

Half of the 40 participants in the latest training course were women. Everyone was able to chose whether they wanted to expand their expertise in photography, in graphic design or as a drone pilot. Theory and practice form part of the course in all three focal points.

The practical instruction is held outdoors where Esther is currently flying her drone. “It’s a tremendous experience that I can now fulfil my dream of becoming a professional film and photo drone pilot”, the 22-year-old says with enthusiasm. “I was a bit unsure at first, but now I can fly a drone with confidence, use it to capture images and land it safely.” Esther had trained as a journalist, but most recently she was working as an administrative assistant in a travel and tourism company in Accra, since she couldn’t find a job in the media sector.

This young woman is highly motivated: “I’m really excited because I’ve already been commissioned with my first photo assignments. They involve using a rented drone to make commercial film recordings and take photos at weddings, parties and corporate events. It’s is a lucrative business.” She wants to expand it in future and launch her own business as a self-employed photographer and drone pilot.

Safety training for drone pilots

Among other things, the training course taught Esters and the others how to safely fly and land drones. This includes safety management to ensure that the drones don’t crash and cause damage. The participants also learned how to equip a drone with a video downlink system. This is a system that transmits the video signal. The trainers also showed them how to record video images from the air that subsequently tell a story.

The photography course involved being able to operate the camera, identify good subjects and edit photos. The aspiring graphic designers learned basic knowledge of artistic design, visual communication and illustration. In addition to these creative skills, the participants in all three courses learned what it takes to become self-employed. This not only includes planning and starting a business. It also involves how they can become successfully self-employed in the long term.

“I already have a business that produces picture frames. But I took part in the training course because I wanted to learn how to take photographs and present my subjects in the best light. My new skills in photography and as a video drone pilot will enable me to earn additional income”, reports course participant Solomon. He wants to pass on his newly gained knowledge in the future: “I’d like to train as many people as possible, so that they can become professionals in this area. I’ve already started to train my cousin who is also extremely passionate about photography”, says the 26-year-old.

This is now the second programme after the successful launch in 2022

Marigold Gyamfi-Domfeh is a technical advisor and contact person for gender equality in the team of advisors at the GEC. She organised the training programme with its three priorities: “Our main aim is to alter people’s preconception that this profession is only something for men.”

The GIZ team in Accra ran the programme for the second time in 2023. Last year they organised the training courses as a pilot project. Back then it was even 70 per cent of the participants who were women. “It was a great success for us. Some of them even had their first commissions including for wedding receptions even before their training had finished”, explains the advisor.

Start-up equipment for self-employment

The mood during the training course was full of happiness and excitement. The participants were able to discuss their previous experience and plans for self-employment. This exchange among like-minded people provided additional motivation.

Each of them showed what they had learned at the end of the three months. Many of them were already experienced photographers before the training course and were able to extend their skills. Others learned totally new skills. The newly trained pilots flew their video drones during a demonstration at the GEC.

Olive is a passionate photographer and is delighted with the training course at the Ghanaian-European Centre for Jobs, Migration and Development.

All of the participants were given a certificate at the end of their three-month training, and equipment to help them start their business. They each received a digital camera, flash unit, camera bag, memory cards and a photo printer. This gives them a clear start on their path to self-employment.

The participants are delighted. One of them is Olive, who had studied biochemistry. “Even though my background is scientific, my true passion is for photography. I was quick to seize the opportunity”, says the 25-year-old. “I used to record amateur videos and take photos with my mobile phone. The trainers who ran the course showed me how successfully compose my subjects. I’m looking forward to the future and feel certain that my self-employment will work out well.”

After the training course I can fly a drone with confidence, use it to capture images and land it safely.

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