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Johannesburg-based fintech specialist e4 has launched a Girls in STEM programme to help young girls in underprivileged areas with the educational support and insight to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) after matric.
e4 has launched a Girls in STEM programme to help young girls in underprivileged areas
The programme is being hosted in collaboration with Melisizwe Computer Lab Project, a non-profit that provides schools that are in need with computer labs and IT skills training.
Candice Kern-Thomas, Founder and Director of Melisizwe Computer Lab Project, expresses that the partnership to create the initiative is a step in the right direction to uplifting young women in South Africa.
“With youth unemployment at record highs and black females being the most vulnerable, we have to start investing in the right initiatives that have an actual measurable impact. We need more corporates to invest in the future of the youth, particularly in townships and rural communities, so the cycle of poverty can be alleviated.”
The programme titled Girls in STEM officially launched in August in an ode to Women’s Month in South Africa. As an after-school programme, it has been tailored to provide inform and encourage girls interests and motivate them to pursue or explore further education and opportunities in the STEM field by taking up STEM subjects in grade 10.
Ntombi Mphokane, e4’s HR and Transformation Executive expresses the importance of including young girls in the STEM field.
“With the rise of tech in today’s society, it is crucial that we invest more into STEM education for girls to be able to pursue a sustainable and meaningful career path.”
According to a report from e4, the programme is currently recruiting from two different schools in Gauteng and schools which Melisizwe Computer Lab Project has previously worked with
Selected participants are chosen based on their attitude and aptitude. In addition, selected students are provided with technical training in STEM subjects including science, maths, engineering and end-user computing, software development and robotics.
To ensure that students are provided with valuable insight, each of them is provided with mentorship from e4 personnel and other leaders and passionate women in the STEM industry.
The programme will operate from grade 9 until a year post matric.
“We are committed to addressing the digital gender divide and developing the next generation of young women leaders as the driving force behind digital innovation,” concludes Mphokane
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Featured image: The e4 Team at the e4 Diepdale Secondary School Computer Centre – one of the schools participating in the e4 STEM Programme (Supplied)