Geeks4Learning entices female techies with sponsored training
Sandton-based training academy Geeks4Learning is stepping up efforts to lure female techies into the IT sector, offering fully-sponsored learnerships.
The ICT learnerships are aligned with industry standards, says Marike Fourie, Geeks4Learning operations manager, adding the programme equips female techies with relevant skills, giving them a fair chance to compete in the market.
The academy is also guaranteeing employment within the ICT sector upon successful completion of the training.
During an interview with ITWeb to commemorate Women’s Month, Fourie said SA needs to create a genderless ICT sector, so Geeks4Learning is taking steps to help foster such an environment.
“I believe more can be done to encourage young females to pursue a career in ICT, especially on grassroots level. There are various initiatives undertaken to increase ICT awareness and create interest for the ICT field among the youth; however, I believe more can be done and we all have a part to play in doing so.
“Geeks4Learning offers fully-sponsored ICT learnerships that are aligned to industry standards, which fully equip female techies in terms of the skills required by the industry and we guarantee employment within the ICT sector after they have successfully completed the learnership. We encourage more and more females to join our ICT learnerships so that we help them achieve their dream careers as techies.”
Fourie wishes for greater awareness of a “genderless” ICT sector, calling for further action to on-board more female talent in the sector.
Limited opportunities for women in the ICT and telecoms sectors have been the subject of recent discussions.
Earlier this month, the ICT sector was urged to nurture and empower female talent, and also increase board and management representation.
ICASA’s State of the ICT Sector report 2021 notes there are only 12 820 female employees in the telecoms sector, and over a six-year period, total female employment in the telecoms sector increased by only 2.4%.
“ICT is a growing industry, as well as a fascinating one; the things we as humans can now accomplish due to advances in IT are amazing, and what the future holds is unimaginable. We see how medicine and technology have merged over the years, technology helping the advancement of medicine. This is where the industry becomes even more interesting − technology has emerged into almost everything and is a part of our everyday lives,” noted Fourie.
Geeks4Learning is calling for an urgent ICT skills revolution that will drive change in the economy, creating opportunities for innovation, new products and entrepreneurship.
Beneficiaries of the Geeks4Learning learnership programme have welcomed the initiative, saying being a woman in a male-dominated tech world is “rather scary” and empowerment initiatives like these make the challenge bearable.
Anita Madike, business analysis learner, says: “SA could do a lot more. It takes something as simple as having female role models in the tech industry to inspire young girls to want to achieve the same.
“It all starts with who is at the forefront when the tech world is referred to. If a young girl only sees a young man at the forefront, she will believe that is what the industry looks like. But if women stand at the front, then young girls will have someone to look up to and see themselves in those role models and that it is possible for them too.”
According to Madike, the Geeks4Learning academy’s “support doesn't change based on whether you are male or female, but it is consistent and that gives confidence to women in the field because they aren’t treated differently and are awarded the same opportunities. This allows growth in the tech world, and allows women to take the necessary risks to perform exceptionally, knowing they aren't going to be overlooked or looked down on by colleagues or managers.”
For Kitso Moema, another learnerhip beneficiary, who is now associate trainer at the academy, says: “I believe that in the ICT sector, as it stands, there are a multitude of opportunities for women to take advantage of. People are noticing there is an imbalance and that opening it up to more people will create the much-needed balance.
“Being a woman in ICT in 2021 is a good place to be career-wise. More women now are being considered for positions, which makes room for more women to go into this field and build careers.”