Vodacom is introducing a hybrid coding bootcamp this year, as part of the upcoming edition of its Code Like A Girl STEM empowerment programme.
In a statement, the mobile telephony group says the coding bootcamp will take place from 2 to 6 October, targeting young girls aged between 14 and 18.
The on-site training will be hosted at 19 Vodacom Schools of Excellence across the country, with virtual training accessible to all female learners who meet the criteria, it states.
“With our 2023 hybrid instalment of this critical initiative, we are driving access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for more girls, and addressing the severe gender gap in these fields,” says Njabulo Mashigo, human resources director of Vodacom South Africa.
“Through Code Like A Girl, we are empowering young women with valuable coding and other life skills to equip them for jobs of the future and ensure diversity in STEM.”
With female participation still lagging in STEM fields, Vodacom initiated the Code Like A Girl programme in 2017. Vodacom says more than 4 000 girls aged 14 and 18 years have participated in the programme, which has expanded from South Africa to Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Lesotho.
It takes place during the school holidays, with the first intake beginning their training during the winter school holidays and second cohort around October. Young girls are taught how to code and develop soft skills, to encourage them to develop an interest in STEM careers.
According to Vodacom, for the on-site part of the upcoming coding bootcamp, the participant must be a learner at a school or nearby a school that is a Vodacom School of Excellence, which is equipped with laptops and internet connectivity.
The virtual bootcamp will run parallel to the on-site training, and participating learners must have access to a laptop or computer with internet connectivity.
At the five-day bootcamp, girls will be exposed to coding, robotics and other ICT development initiatives, says the telco. There is also a life skills component, with female mentors available to share their experiences of working in STEM and serve as visible role models.
“At Vodacom, we want to #ShowUpforHer by actively breaking barriers to gender inequality. The success of Code Like A Girl is testament to the need to increase representation as we aim to build a digitally inclusive society,” concludes Mashigo.
To apply for Code Like a Girl, click here.