De Beers invests in development educational programme for young women
De Beers Group has invested US$315,000 in a three-year partnership with WomEng in order to encourage young women to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and to pursue engineering careers in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.
WomEng is an award-winning organisation with a mission to develop the next generation of highly skilled women for the engineering and technology industries. The first programme of the De Beers- WomEng partnership was WomEng’s Fellowship South Africa event, recently held in Johannesburg, attended by 60 female engineering students in their pre- and post-graduate years from South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.
The week-long event was designed to strengthen the students’ employability and leadership skills and cultivate innovative entrepreneurial thinking through the WomEng Innovation Challenge. Students were asked to develop an engineering business solution to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“With a global shortage of engineers, and women representing only 11 per cent of the engineering workforce, attracting more young women into engineering is vital. In our fast-changing world, we need diversity of thought to find new solutions, so we are thrilled to be able to partner with WomEng and play a role in supporting the next generation of talented engineers who will play a critical role in shaping the future,” Katie Fergusson, Senior Vice-President, Social Impact, De Beers Group, said.
Next month, a series of half-day GirlEng #AskAnEngineer workshops will begin, run by engineers, students and the WomEng team. Each session will target 200 girls in schools around De Beers Group’s operations. The first is in Musina, South Africa, followed by sessions in Windhoek, Namibia, and Orapa and Jwaneng in Botswana.
They will be followed by a regional GirlEng programme, where 60 students chosen from the earlier sessions are eligible for a sponsored two-day Innovation Boot Camp in Johannesburg in March 2020. Students will also be provided with support for university and scholarship applications, as well as exposure to mining environments.
Caption: Attendees at WomEng’s Fellowship South Africa event.