01 September 2014 - The Taungana Africa STEM expo kicked off on the 24th of August and saw high school girls from across rural South Africa, Zambia and South Africa came to Johannesburg to explore everything that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) industries have to offer.
The 30 girls, dubbed “STEM ambassadors”, explored the world of STEM through an educational immersion and exposure to female role models in the best of South Africa’s STEM industries. The Expo theme for 2014 was “Decoding STEM Careers”.
“Making a real difference in our communities” is embedded in Aurecon’s strategy. In line with this, Aurecon is proud to have played host to the girls as part of their week-long programme.
The ambassadors arrived in Johannesburg on Saturday, 23 August and had an official welcome and team building session at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, followed by a fun tour of Johannesburg.
The girls got real-life exposure to STEM careers from high fliers in South African STEM giants and the organisers made sure that each field was represented by a world-class organisation. Aurecon welcomed the girls on Wednesday, 27 August to show them how thrilling and rewarding a career in engineering can be, through Aurecon’s own bright women “STEMmers” candidly sharing their own experiences. One memorable share from Khanya Visser, a Civil Engineer in Aurecon’s Water Unit, included: “You get to build stuff!”
“As a developing continent, Africa has a great need for development in the STEM fields. Students in rural schools can be extremely limited when it comes to exposure, information about careers and role models in engineering,” explains Linsey Dyer, Technical Director and Business Development Manager in Aurecon’s Business Development team. Dyer is also the Chairperson for Aurecon Women Achieving Women (AWAW) Gauteng. AWAW was set up to empower women to realise and achieve their potential.
It is one of Aurecon’s key global diversity initiatives, and has seen many Aurecon women become involved in promoting career growth for women in engineering both within Aurecon and outside of the company.
Aurecon has committed to identifying and leveraging the contribution of women to our business. The company supporst initiatives which foster girls' enthusiasm and engagement in STEM and the TaunganaAfrica STEM expo was an ideal opportunity to encourage young women who could potentially be future African female leaders in our industries.
TaunganaAfrica’s projects fits perfectly with AWAW Gauteng’s programme of community building.
“We intend to pursue a long term collaboration with Taungana and the Bunengi Foundation and we hope to work with Taungana to develop relationships with the ambassadors who attended STEM expo week, possibly including them in future bursary programmes and hopefully even working with them once they’ve finished their studies,” adds Dyer.
The ambassadors were also exposed to aviation careers at South African Airways, the automotive industry at BMW, mining at Anglo American, nuclear careers at the NECSA Research Centre, energy careers at Eskom and careers in coding at ThoughtWorks, among others.
“The organisers of the expo put together a well thought-out programme, ensuring that the young women were able to get a real idea of what working in STEM fields could be like. Aurecon thoroughly enjoyed hosting them and I look forward to seeing a few of their bright faces in promising STEM careers in the future,” concludes Dyer.