The electronics repair industry is a field that has traditionally been dominated by men, which is why Samsung Electronics South Africa has been running its Women Technical Programme with the aim of helping to level the playing field. To date the programme has trained 20 female students at their academy in Boksburg. The syllabus consisted of ten modules and eight weeks practical training, with new subjects being initiated on an on-going basis.
Nosipho Majola (23), from Thembisa, was one of the original group trainees and explains that after completing matric in 2011, she went on to study at the Ekurhuleni West College, focusing on electrical infrastructure, systems and principles, as well as digital and electronics.
“After college I spent a few months doing various jobs, seeking work and life experience, so I did a bit of everything and it exposed me to so much. At one stage, I waitressed at a convention centre where I had the chance to speak to a lot of influential people. That awoke a fire in me as I realised I also wanted to become an influential person. This made me determined to go back and study further,” Majola says.
To this end, she enrolled part time at the Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy and completed a two-year course in Electronics and Information Technology, after which she was selected to participate in the Samsung Woman Technical Programme.
“The most challenging part of the course was the fact that the work was so in-depth and we focused on a wide range of mobile devices and tablets. We had many modules to complete so it felt like I was running a marathon, at times I was worried that I wasn’t going to finish,” explains Majola, who persevered to meet the demands of the programme through her dedication and drive to succeed. “It was both invigorating and challenging.”
She offers a word of advice to other young women considering such a career move, pointing out that they should not allow the misperception that this is a male-dominated industry deter them. “Regardless of whether you are male or female, as long as you apply your own strengths, personality traits and skills you will be able to make a significant contribution to the sector.”
Majola has higher ambitions still, suggesting that she would like to study part time for a BSc in electrical engineering while she continues to gain experience in the workplace.
“It’s very encouraging to have such a huge company like Samsung willing to go out and select regular people like me to train – it demonstrates that they believe in us and are willing to invest in people. I certainly see myself growing within Samsung and I hope to get to a point one day where I can initiate programmes like the one I was involved in, so that I can help other youngsters to grow and develop,” she says.
Samsung’s Director: SSA Service, Richard Chetty believes that this first group of women can be the trailblazers for what Samsung hopes will become a flood of young female technical learners in South Africa.
“The most heartening thing is that from a social perspective, this course offers a genuine opportunity to empower these young ladies. We are now planning to have three intakes every year and we hope our proactive stance on this issue will result in other companies adopting similar programmes in the future,” concludes Chetty.