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Civil Engineering Intern, Multiple positions

Makeni | Freetown

Background Information - Job-specific

UNOPS Ghana Operational Hub (GHOH), located in Accra, Ghana is responsible for projects in Anglophone West Africa, covering Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. GHOH is responsible for managing strategic and operational risks associated with a subset of the regional portfolio of engagements, developing and delivering cost effective services contributing to partners’ sustainable results and achievements of UNOPS management results.

Background Information – Sierra Leone UNOPS has been established in Sierra Leone since 2000 and currently has 35 personnel in country, operating out of 3 main locations – in Freetown (with frequent visit to sites and other district) and home based.

During the last 15 years, UNOPS has delivered a variety of infrastructure projects nationwide, particularly in the fields of health and security infrastructure, and has procured a variety of vehicles, non-medical health related items and medical equipment.

Current projects include:
  • Infrastructure Programme for Isolation Units; Construction of screening and isolation units for government hospitals under the Ebola Emergency Response Project (EERP) (with funding from the World Bank) and medical waste management and WASH (with funding from DFID) in support of the Ministry of Health.
  • Procurement of non-health items and services to contribute to the Global Fund Programme in Sierra Leone, for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM)
  • Construction of the new Administrative Headquarters of the Transnational Organised Crime Unit (TOCU) in Freetown, Sierra Leone for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Functional Responsibilities

In order to respond to the Ministry of Energy’s challenge of providing off-grid rural electrification solutions in Sierra Leone, UNOPS has been engaged to deliver the Rural Renewable Energy Project (RREP) with the objective of increasing accessibility to public services and enhancing economic growth in underserved rural communities.

The present four-year project has been developed with the target outcome to increase rural renewable energy access through private sector involvement, and support institutional development/reforms on regulatory frameworks and business model approaches. The RREP will implement sustainable technical and financial solutions to establish electrification of villages through mini-grids, along with the technical assistance required to support the sustainable development of this off-grid renewable energy initiative.

The RREP is developed around technical solutions designed under three work packages (WP):

  1. Work package 1 and 1+: Installing stand-alone 6kWp solar photovoltaic (sPV) systems in a minimum of 50 communities by July 2017 (with the ambition to scale up to 80 communities subject to availability of funds).  The stand-alone 6kWp solar photovoltaic systems will provide electricity to the Community Health Centres, and subsequently be expanded into small mini-grids in the 50 villages by the end of 2017, to connect all other public institutions and households in the village.  The 50 small mini-grids (< ~36kW) will be operated by private operators with commercial interests or local communities associations, both ensuring long term sustainability by December 2017.
  2. Work package 2: The project will support a range of public-private sector business models for providing rural communities electrification through installation of environmentally and economically sustainable mini-grids (> ~36kW). A minimum of 40 mini-grids will be completed by October 2020, adding up to 5 MW to the country’s power generation capacity
  3. Work package 3: Technical Assistance (TA) and institutional development (capacity building) to both government authorities and private sector, as part of the holistic approach to facilitate mini-grids development and long term sustainable operations.

As part of the capacity building the Civil Engineer interns will be given an opportunity through practical “hands - on” approach the objectives of the training is to enable the interns acquire higher level of skills, and consequently improve their competency.  A period of formal structured internship is necessary in order to fully integrate the theoretical knowledge to practice. The interns will be systematically introduced to the ways and get a feel for construction industry and putting such knowledge into practice with the aim of becoming a competent and confident Professional Engineers.

2. Training components and learning elements

The overall objectives of the training are as follows:

  • To provide structured guidance and training under the supervision of senior civil engineers.
  • To provide the young graduates with an intensive exposure to civil engineering discipline and practice.
  • To support young civil engineering graduates through their initial professional development and eventually, to attain full professional status.
  • To facilitate bridging of the gap between education and professional qualification and facilitate development of skills and professional approach needed to practice as a civil engineering professional.
  • To increase the chances of employability in industry for young civil engineering graduates.

3. Participation in missions or training courses

  • Know your work place and team
  • Know the organogram of the design office/construction head office/construction works yard.
  • Learn the functions of Departments and key personnel in a design office/construction head office/construction works yard.
  • Know key construction site personnel in a building and/or road project
  • Understanding the importance of Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) issues at work sites
  • Understand architectural and corresponding structural design drawings and cross sections.
  • Understand longitudinal and cross section road construction drawings.
  • Use of AutoCAD to produce design drawings.
  • Know civil engineering procurement process
  • Know the significance of main contract documents – drawings, specifications, Bill of Quantities

4. Additional comments

  • Use of Surveying Instruments – Level machine, Total Station equipment or Theodolite
  • Know how to do setting out for a building project
  • Know how to take cross section levels for a road project
  • Know how to take contour levels
  • Take off Quantities from drawings
  • Estimating cost of civil engineering works.
  • Use of Civil Engineering Standard Method of Measurement (CESMM)) for civil engineering works.
  • Preparation of Bill of Quantities (BOQ) using CESMM.

Education/Experience/Language requirements

  • Completion of secondary school or equivalent is required.
  • To be eligible for this particular internship with UNOPS, the candidate must be studying towards a university degree in Civil Engineering or have graduated with a relevant University degree in the past three years. 

Internship-related experiences        

  • While no prior work experience is required, some experience in Civil Engineering ideally within the development sector or private sector, is highly desirable. 

Language Skills
  • Fluency in English is required.
  • Knowledge of second UN official language is required.

Additional requirements        

  • AutoCAD certification is desirable.

  • Advanced MS Office skills is desirable

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: Internship
Contract level: N/A
Contract duration: 12 months

This internship is not designed to lead to a staff position with UNOPS. Therefore, there should be no expectation of employment at the end of the internship.

Interns may be eligible for a monthly stipend from UNOPS provided that they do not receive funds from other institutions. Further, UNOPS may provide a one time travel lumpsum of 500 USD. However, they must make their own arrangements for accommodation, travel and necessary visa arrangements.

For more details about UNOPS internships please follow this link:

Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.  
It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns.  Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.


Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.
Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).
Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.
Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.
Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.
Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Makeni | Freetown
  • Grade: Internship
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Engineering
  • Closing Date: 2017-09-21

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