The founders of networking platform ICT on Heels, Noluvuyo Mpekelana and Mbulelo Sochifa want to empower and create opportunities for women in the Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector.
The platform, which officially launches in February this year, aims to support and mentor women in the sector, while also working to make the field more attractive for young women to enter.
“Experts say that technology can be a lonely and sometimes intimidating field for women. Statistics such as those released by IITPSA state that 56% of global ICT professional jobs are held by women, but in South Africa, where women comprise 55% of the country’s entire workforce, only 20% of the ICT workforce are women,” they state on their website.
“The close-knit network that this platform will provide will make it possible for young women to get guidance and stay motivated, despite the daily challenges they face as women in the male-dominated industry,” Mpekelana said in an interview with IT Web.
Communications Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, recently highlighted the low participation of women in the ICT and also the importance of ICT education for women, saying that the lack thereof, is the reason why so few women enter the industry.
Find out how ICT On Heels works – Here are 5 things you should know about the programme and its launch.
- The programme is aimed at women who have recently qualified in ICT as well as those who are already working in the field and are looking to become organisational leaders. They are also targeting both rural and township-based female scholars.
- According to their website, their 10-month programme will cover a diverse range of topics, including technical and leadership skills development, personal branding and an introduction to new technologies such as cyber security, IOT and big data.
- Their secondary objective is to ensure that scholars are exposed to all career options in ICT. This will be achieved through their hosting of ICT-based career days in Johannesburg, Mpumalanga, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. The founders have already selected high schools for 2018, according to IT Web.
- The programme already boasts an impressive list of mentors that will help facilitate the programme. This includes Kate Moodley who is a personal branding specialist, speaker and author; Mbulelo Matjeka, lead technology partner at Absa Insurance; Nomonde White, head of technology at Barclays Africa; Alan Knott Craig (Jr.), executive chairman at Hero Telecoms and Dudu Mkhwanazi who is the twenty-six-year-old CEO of the award-winning Tshwane Wi-Fi initiative, Project Isizwe.
- The programme is based in Johannesburg, however there are plans to expand to Cape Town in 2019, according to IT Web.