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Veeam helps SA women enter IT field

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Lisa Strydom, senior manager, channel and alliance Africa at Veeam.
Lisa Strydom, senior manager, channel and alliance Africa at Veeam.

Backup and disaster recovery firm Veeam has introduced a Women in IT initiative in South Africa. The mentorship programme will encourage female participation and career advancement in the local science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field.

The initiative was announced yesterday by Lisa Strydom,  senior manager, channel and alliances for Africa at Veeam, during the Veeam On Tour conference in Johannesburg.

The initiative is part of the company’s global vision to help address the gender gap in the ICT sector, by nurturing more women in the industry, and helping to address diversity-related challenges faced by women who are already in the field and barriers encountered by those who are interested in such a career.

It forms part of Veeam’s existing Women in Green programme, which was launched a few years ago, to help women succeed in business by providing training and development to those who have the potential to become the best within the company.

“We are starting the Women in IT programme in South Africa and we are hoping to expand it to other parts of the continent,” explained Strydom.

“The programme is aimed at creating a support system for women in the IT industry, and pathways for more women to enter the industry, especially those who come from the less privileged communities of South Africa. According to research, only 27% of the global IT workforce is made up of women, which is a very low number…and in South Africa the numbers could be even less.”

Strydom is spearheading the initiative, together with fellow colleagues Tejel Parhanse, territory manager: public sector at Veeam, and Wendy Parker, senior marketing manager at Veeam.

According to Strydom, government and the private sector have introduced several initiatives focused on training young women to help them enter the STEM field; however, this is not enough to fill the huge ICT skills gap in the country.

“I think we need to be promoting more of this and we need more corporates to join hands and become involved in creating diversity in the field of ICT by offering more learnership programmes and free courses for young people who may not afford a university qualification.”

According to the 2021 ICT Skills Survey, firms are grappling to fill thousands of ICT vacancies, as the skills dearth persists in SA.

Veeam will work with various organisations and mentors within the IT industry in efforts to create a networking platform that will serve as a vehicle for career-related information and available learning programmes for young girls, added Strydom.

“The IT industry has always been perceived as a man's world, so this initiative also looks at how we change this mindset. We would like to mentor girls and make sure they are confident and not afraid to enter careers within the IT industry.

“They need to know that IT is not always about doing the hard labour jobs; it's more about creativity – and women are very good at things like coding and robotics. Women bring a different view and creativity into everyday tasks, and the initiative will show them how this can be applied in business.”

Strydom urged local companies to come on-board and help Veeam to scale the project and reach women across the country.

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10 Aug
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