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Vodacom promotes women in technology
4 March 2009, News

On 5 February, 2009, another 22 South African women joined Vodacom’s Graduate Programme for Females in Technology (GPFT) 2009. Since its inception in 2006, Vodacom has invested R15 million in the GPFT, with 48 women having participated in this three-year programme. With the additional intake this year, the total investment is estimated to reach R25 million.

Vodacom’s GPFT provides female graduates an opportunity to participate in a three-year programme to work and study in the fields of technology and engineering that are needed to contribute effectively to the design, development and maintenance of cellular telecommunications systems. With on-the-job training, candidates also attain business and professional skills to become well-rounded professional business people.

According to Lungi Ndlovu, chief human resource officer at Vodacom Group, “As a result of the previous years’ success and growth of the GPFT, we have launched a multipronged graduate development programme in 2009, anchored around the core functions of the business, including engineering and technology, billing and IT, as well as commercial functions. This year will see our participants not only gain skills in the technology and engineering fields of telecommunications but also in the commercial field.

Vodacom launched its GPFT after it conducted an analysis of its technical staff complement in 2005, which revealed a shortage of female staff in core business areas. As a result, the company developed the graduate programme to encourage and support women to develop the skills needed to work in a technical area in the telecommunications industry. Vodacom offers permanent jobs to those candidates who have successfully gained competence in the core areas of the business after the completion of the first year of the programme.

Rebecca Galland, who joins this year’s programme after having completed a National Diploma in Technology at the Vaal University of Technology, sees the programme as a huge opportunity. “As a woman in a male dominated industry, an opportunity like this one becomes that much more significant. I feel fortunate to be gaining such meaningful work experience at a highly reputable company like Vodacom,” says Galland.

According to Ndlovu, 98% of the participants from past intakes have been permanently employed by Vodacom and are playing key roles in the technical areas of the business. This year also marks a milestone in the programme, as Vodacom celebrates the conclusion of the first 3-year cycle since the launch in 2006.

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