International chemicals and energy company Sasol, regarded as the employer of choice in Africa’s chemical & pharmaceuticals sector, is urging female learners in Grade 12 to seize the opportunity to be at the forefront of economic growth and innovation by studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses at tertiary institutions.
The company has provided all-inclusive bursaries to thousands of young South Africans over the years to study engineering, science and accounting, many of them women. The bursary programme seeks to address the dire shortage of STEM skills in South Africa, attract talent to Sasol and pave a road to a STEM-related career for more young South Africans.
“With the country facing a significant shortage of STEM skills, this spells opportunity for young women who achieve the matric mathematics and science marks they need to study STEM subjects at tertiary level,” said Monica Luwes, Manager of the Graduate Centre at Sasol Corporate Bursary Services. “We need to build our country’s base of STEM skills if we are to grow South Africa’s economy and boost its skills pool.”
According to the Engineering Council of South Africa’s annual report for 2017, women account for only around 7% of the 28,200 or so professional engineers, professional engineering technologists, professional certified engineers and professional engineering technicians registered with the organisation.
“Joining the STEM sector is an opportunity for young women to put themselves on track for an exciting career, where they will have the opportunity to solve complex problems,” she added. “STEM careers offer immense intellectual satisfaction and stimulation, as well as great opportunities to work around the world. Because STEM skills are in high demand, careers in this field offer high levels of mobility and competitive remuneration.”
Sasol bursary beneficiary and engineer-in-training, Amanda Moyo from Witbank said her dream from an early age has always been to be an inventor. Moyo studied electrical engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand.
“Engineering is a male-dominated industry and at first, I felt like a pebble in an ocean. But this picture is changing fast as companies like Sasol encourage young women to enter the field. I love the challenges of my job and the idea that I can help to change people’s lives.”
Luwes said that Sasol aims to enable top achieving Grade 12 girls to study for the STEM career of their dreams. Students who receive Sasol’s bursaries do not need to worry about their tertiary education costs—they can focus on achieving outstanding results. In addition to financial support, Sasol gives them career support as well as life guidance to help them succeed.