Samsung Electronics South Africa is celebrating Women’s Month by empowering young women from Ekurhuleni townships by providing them with technical skills and gainful employment, changing the male-dominated landscape of the electronics industry.
This year, South African women celebrate the 61st anniversary of the Women’s March to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, protesting pass laws imposed by the then apartheid government. Although great strides have been made since then, women are still largely excluded from certain sectors, despite being the country’s economic driving force. Millions of women across the country’s townships are left destitute, often with no way of caring for their families.
According to *Stats SA, the unemployment rate in South Africa is currently at 27.7%, and according to the 2017 Grant Thornton Women in Business report, only 28% of senior management positions in South Africa are filled by women. This figure has gone up by only 2 percentage points in the past 15 years, an indicator of the slow integration process. However, Samsung’s Women Technical Programme is working to balance the scales quicker.
Richard Chetty, Director of Services at Samsung South Africa, explains that women have been excluded from the electronics field for far too long, “Women have an eye for detail and deliver quality work, which makes them ideal for this sector. To address the gender disparity in the industry and to add to the pool of talented technical specialists required to service and support the growing consumer electronics and mobile phone markets, we welcome women into Samsung’s technical programme.”
This programme has seen the first intake of 16 young women graduate from the programme and they are now all employed at Samsung Service Centres in Gauteng. The second intake of women are due to complete their training in September, providing them the opportunity to receive skills and become self-sufficient.
The women included in Samsung’s Women Technical Programme are between the ages of 18 and 25, are from the townships around Ekurhuleni and have already completed a college qualification. If they have not secured employment, they are then accepted in this programme. They complete a six-month in-depth technical training course, followed by a month of in-service training. Once, after gaining the technical knowledge they need, students are exposed to the public and are taught the ins and outs of client service. Students return to Samsung’s Women Technical Programme to round out their training. Service Centres can offer the fully trained students permanent employment, providing them with the first stepping stone to a career in the electronics sector.