In the last few years we’ve seen great innovation across various industries, breakthroughs for marginalised communities and a digital revolution that has impacted every aspect of our lives.
Although these are milestones to be celebrated, there is still so much more that needs to be done to develop the presence of women in the technology and innovation space.
The award-winning founder of Cape Town training organisation On the Ball College (OTBC), Kim Palmer, launched OTBC in September 2005 and this college has since become a household name in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry in the Western Cape.
As a participant in the Innovator Trust ICT incubation programme, this black-female-owned college has been actively involved in sharpening the minds of the youth and has created a much-needed space for women to interact through their ICT learnership offering, skills programmes and their annual Women in ICT seminar.
“Women in ICT at present in South Africa account for less than 30% representation. Women need to see more role models, they need to have access to mentorship and be made aware of the careers that are available to them. The future is built on a foundation of digital skills and if women are not encouraged to grow these skills, they will be excluded and left behind,” said Palmer.
Beyond launching the careers of several successful individuals, Palmer has found innovative ways to combine her wealth of knowledge from 21 years of experience in the ICT educational sector with current emerging industry trends, and to apply it to the socio-political environment in which the company now finds itself.
Each year, students are able to participate in ICT certificate programmes that range from NQF levels 4 to 6, providing beneficiaries with the opportunity to be accredited for future careers which include computer technician, network administrator, programmer, developer or business analyst.
While many institutions have battled to keep up with e-learning demands, Palmer has proven that she is not only an industry veteran, but a trailblazer too. To aid the transition from brick-and-mortar learning to online schooling, OTBC has readjusted its learning structures.
“We adapted and helped clients to adapt to the changing learning environment through adding devices like laptops or tablets to our course fees and learnership programmes. We included a work-from-home learning model to help our students be better prepared for remote working and become more adaptable to this way of working,” said Palmer.