In 2013, the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) declared that only 11% of the total number of engineers registered with the council were women however even with this low figure, the number of women working professionally as engineers totalled to a disappointing 4% in the industry.
Furthermore, research and data collected in 2016 shows that women make up only 23% of STEM talent globally. With so few women working as engineers , GIBB Engineering recently showcased their commitment to developing a pipeline of female talent in the industry by hosting two students, Mmakobeane Mogano and Koketso Nkokwane from Realogile Secondary School for their TechnoGirl programme. The students were mentored to make informed career choices and given an overview of opportunities within the engineering industry.
Social- TV decided to get into the fundamentals of this partnership between GIBB and TechnoGirls in an effort to encourage more females to engage in STEM learning and to help increase the number of initiatives currently working to include more women within engineering.
Below is Q and A with GIBB Engineering and Technogirl
1. What urged/influenced the longstanding commitment into developing female talent, particularly within the selected field?
We at GIBB focus on addressing the gender gap in sectors that are traditionally male dominated. At GIBB, we encourage mentorship and collaboration, as we feel women increase their chances of succeeding in business when they have mentors to provide real-life examples.
During their time with us the TechnoGirl’s were surrounded by ambitious women who have worked their way to the top and they shared career advice to these girls. GIBB’s diverse service offerings allowed the girls to gain wonderful exposure and they will be able to make informed choices when choosing their career path.
2. How long has this commitment been running and what other programmes have come from it in the past years?
The programme only commenced in June 2017.
3. What follow up strategies exist at GIBB that may increase adequate access to jobs and employment, once the girls have been educated about opportunities/career options, if any?
We at GIBB have a very comprehensive talent management plan, where female junior engineers are nurtured and supported. The mentoring begins at school, to university and through to post-graduate level, ultimately placing them within GIBB and developing and supporting them through their stay with us. In addition, GIBB has a strong A-Player Performance culture and training that is aligned to its comprehensive talent management plans and the individual development plans.
4. Why collaborate with the TechnoGirl programme? What was the drawing factor that lead to the partnership?
The TechnoGirl programme at GIBB gives students an opportunity to experience the corporate environment in the engineering sector, to learn more about what to expect when you join the working world. We believe that hands-on experience is the best way to prepare you for your future in the professional services industry. Opening girl’s minds to a world of possibilities and opportunities, they must not be afraid to take on male-dominated careers and roles.
1. A Brief history on the Programme?
TechnoGirl is a flagship programme of the Ministry in the Presidency Responsible for Women, in partnership with UNICEF, the Department of Basic Education, State Information Technology Agency (SITA), and the TechnoGirl Trust. The TechnoGirl programme was piloted 2005 to 2007 and by 2011 it was being implemented in all 9 provinces. The programme comprises of two components – TechnoGirl Job Shadowing and TechnoGirl Alumni.
We believe it is premised on the understanding that structured exposure to the workplace can significantly contribute towards motivating disadvantaged girls to take up careers that are in demand in the economy and where women are under-represented. This will lead to sustained employment, and in so doing, the cycle of poverty can be broken for these girls. What makes the programme particularly compelling is that it covers two of South Africa’s key national priorities: education and job creation.
The TechnoGirl programme objectives are:
• To increase the knowledge and understanding of girls on the importance of STEM career fields to enhance economic empowerment
• To facilitate access to positive female role models in STEM careers
• To improve the knowledge of girls to engage in timeous planning of their future careers
• To facilitate access to industry specific networking opportunities during the course of their studies at post school institutions
• To increase the completion rate of STEM studies at post schooling institutions
• To facilitate access of beneficiaries to job opportunities in STEM industries
• To increase the placement rate of beneficiaries in STEM careers
2. How many children have come out of the programme since conception?
Since the programme’s inception we have reached over 9300 learners through the TechnoGirl programme.
3. How important is that we make sure young girls enhance and harness their potential particularly within these male dominated sectors?
It is important that we ensure that the young girls are provided with an opportunity to be exposed to career opportunities to enhance and harness their potential. TechnoGirl provides a clear and compelling case that the interest of girls flourish in the STEM arena when they are given the opportunity, support and a cognitively stimulating job shadowing experience. This creates a pipeline for the creation of scarce skills. TechnoGirl makes an important difference to reframe the thinking on how STEM subjects can be promoted to ensure entry into scarce career fields.
4. How has the partnership with GIBB highlighted and strengthened the work that you do?
Although the partnership with GIBB is very new, we believe the potential it holds may never be underestimated. Through participation with the TechnoGirl programme, GIBB is not only building a potential pool of talent for itself, it is also enriching the lives of the young girls being hosted. The impact of the exposure to the scarce career fields and the mentoring that will be provided by its mentors to the girls will ensure that girls will make the correct subject choices at school and make the correct career choice post school, purely because they will be well informed. This will ensure that the programme objectives, as indicated above, are met, which therefore ensures that the programme produces many success stories for its beneficiaries.