Thursday, May 28, 2020

Partnership seeks to boost pipeline of women engineers

De Beers Group has partnered with award-winning, South African company, WomEng organization as an effort geared towards improving the number of women in engineering in Botswana as part of a three-year partnership.

Speaking at the week-long event, Senior Vice-President, Social Impact, De Beers Group, the Katie Fergusson said, girls and young women don’t always recognize engineering as a suitable career for them. 

This programme will play a part in growing the next generation of female engineers and ensure women from our producer countries are part of it. We are thrilled the programme is now under way in Botswana.” said Fergusson

In a communiqué issued yersterday, De Beers Group says it is investing US$315,000 over three years in programmes that promote the next generation of female engineering leaders by encouraging young women to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and to pursue engineering and technical careers in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

Through its commitment to standing with women and girls, De Beers Group says ,it has a vision of a workforce with a more equal gender representation and equal access to opportunity for women and girls in its host communities, De Beers

 De Beers says only 11 per cent of engineers across the world are women, and that the company is focusing its investments on technical and leadership education and skills training for women to encourage more to consider careers in engineering.

‘’WomEng was founded in South Africa in 2006 and has run programmes in 21 countries, reaching more than 50,000 girls and women studying STEM subjects. This is the first year the programme has spread to female students in Botswana and Namibia,’’ De Beers

Through the WomEng partnership, Debswana, a joint venture between De Beers Group and the Government of the Republic of Botswana, hosted a series of GirlEng sessions designed to make STEM relevant and accessible, to demonstrate opportunities opened through STEM subjects and to provide students with practical tools and routes to access engineering and technology careers.

The first session in Botswana was held with 200 female students from schools near Debswana’s Jwaneng mine, followed by a second session for another 200 students from schools near its Orapa mine.

De Beers Group says the students who were chosen from the two sessions will be invited to join others who have taken part in parallel GirlEng events in Namibia and South Africa for a regional event, where they will be given support for university and scholarship applications, as well as the chance to understand what it’s like to work in the mining industry.

The De Beers Group WomEng partnership was launched in July 2019, through WomEng’s Fellowship Southern Africa event in Johannesburg, attended by female engineering students from South Africa, Botswana and Namibia in their undergraduate and postgraduate years.

Five high-performing Batswana female students from the Botswana International University of Science and Technology attended the event for the first time.

One of them, Amantle Tracy Sello, said: “It was definitely a defining point of my career as a young aspiring engineer. I have gained so much knowledge that will have a good impact on my career.”

The week-long event was designed to strengthen the students’ employability and leadership skills and cultivate innovative entrepreneurial thinking through the WomEng Innovation Challenge. Students were asked to develop an engineering business solution to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

During presentation Fergusson, said the programme will play a part in growing the next generation of female engineers and ensure women from our producer countries are part of it. 

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Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.