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Better career support for women engineers

Zutari partners with WomEng to support female talent throughout their career pipeline

Women in engineering need structural support throughout their careers, says engineering advisory firm Zutari. To address this demand, Zutari is partnering with WomEng, a non-profit organisation (NPO), to assist women in engineering.

The move is aligned with the theme of International Women’s Day theme of “#BreakTheBias: Imagine a gender-equal world”

Only 6% of registered professional engineers are women, according to the 2021 Annual Report of the Engineering Council of South Africa. This compares to 23% of the registered candidate engineers being women. Increasingly, female STEM talent is entering the industry, but the numbers significantly lag behind demographics.

“Zutari believes that to create a diverse workforce, we must invest in providing structures and networks outside of our organisation that support female engineers from when they register at tertiary intuitions to the time they enter the workplace,” says chief marketing and communication officer Zipporah Maubane.

Zipporah Maubane, chief marketing and communication officer of Zutari

Zutari will coordinate the participation of their graduate intake in the GirlEng programme by sharing real workplace experiences with high school and university students.

“Graduates who recently joined us will become Zutari ambassadors and participate in a community where they take charge of sharing their experiences and stories and thereby give back to their younger selves,” says Maubane.

Zutari will also sponsor the GirlEng Technovation Bootcamps for top-performing high school students from underprivileged communities who are interested in engineering. Students are pooled from the various high schools where WomEng has partnerships.

The two-day bootcamps actively encourage students to pursue engineering at tertiary institutions, by exposing them to female engineers who share what it is like to work in an engineering firm such as Zutari. Fun technical activities prompt the students to imagine themselves as solutionists by answering questions on what they would like to solve in their communities through engineering and technology.

The WomEng Fellowship is a pre-graduate programme targeting university students already studying engineering and who are about to graduate. The students are enrolled in an eight-month programme designed to empower them with workplace skills such as networking, pitching, and formulating ideas. This programme immerses students in the real world of work, preparing them to be up and running from the first day they are hired.

An example of a successful WomEng graduate working at Zutari is asset management consultant Biance Huysamen, a data analyst and modeller.

“I was excited for us to become involved with WomEng as I was one of their fellows and am part of that community,” she says. “WomEng is one of the main reasons I ended up working at Zutari.”

Naadiya Moosajee, co-founder of WomEng

WomEng co-founder Naadiya Moosajee says: “WomEng supports our partners to attract, develop and retain women in engineering globally. We use a combination of in-person experiential learning and virtual learning to connect, collaborate, and seek new opportunities for girls in STEM, women in engineering and technology.”

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