Give women equal opportunities to pursue and thrive in STEM careers
Give women equal opportunities to pursue and thrive in STEM careers

Young women encouraged to study STEM subjects to level jobs field

By Tamara Mafilika Time of article published Jul 15, 2021

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The Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (CHIETA) has pointed to the country’s “alarming” youth unemployment rate which stood at 43.5% for the first quarter of 2021, saying skills investment is needed.

Yershen Pillay, CEO of CHIETA, said in a statement that the organisation believed skills investment remains a sustainable solution, particularly in areas such as STEM development which is aligned with advances in Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies.

“STEM is responding to the changing technological world which means students should be equipped to operate in work environments that are driven by 4IR development. At CHIETA we understand the imperative of upskilling the chemicals industry. We need to overcome polarisation of the labour market opportunities between high- and low-skill jobs, unemployment and underemployment especially among young people.”

Pillay added that the training authority was also reaching out to girls who are grossly under-represented in STEM areas, providing them with funding to embark on studies and subsequent careers in related fields.

As part of this development, the training authority is also reaching out to girls who are grossly under-represented in STEM areas, providing them with funding to embark on studies and subsequent careers in related fields.

According to Pillay, “The data suggests that only 28% of female learners take up STEM-related subjects. To address this imbalance, we will be launching a dedicated STEM education programme for young girls with the outcome of increasing the participation of young girls in STEM from 28% to 50% by 2025. This will be one of your new initiatives that seeks to educate and empower young women”.

“Our STEM-related training programmes and grants not only drive student development but also aim to establish educators that can assist in advancing these subjects, establishing a firm foundation for success in an ever-developing technological world,” Pillay adds.

Additionally, CHIETA recently donated 1 000 devices to matric learners which came preloaded with Whiz software, therefore eliminating data costs typically absorbed by learners.

“Our partnership with iWhiz came at a very opportune time when organisations are being called upon to help close the digital divide that is widening in our education system due to Covid-19 and the lockdowns that have been introduced to lessen the impact of the pandemic,” concludes Pillay.

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