This Women’s Month, Samsung is shining the spotlight on and celebrating female artisans that participated and recently graduated from the 24-month SETA-accredited Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Technician Apprenticeship programme.
This apprenticeship has since its inception been driven through a successful public, private partnership (PPP) – under Samsung’s multi-million worth Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (“EEIP”) working in close collaboration with the Ekurhuleni Artisans and Skills Training Centre (EASTC), the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA).
The main objective of this Apprenticeship programme is to increase the prospects of the country’s youth, more importantly young, female artisans for employability or entrepreneurship. It was started and sponsored by Samsung when the company became aware of the country’s critical shortage of technicians to service consumer electronics and hand-held devices in the market.
The thriving collaboration between private sector and government is helping to achieve the common objective of empowering young female artisans through innovation and is providing them with the necessary training in Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) skills to enhance their chances to do better for themselves.
These incredible, female artisans who participated and graduated from this programme, which started in June 2020, have managed to complete all the apprenticeship requirements, including trade-testing, to be certified by EWSETA as qualified technicians. When asked about their experience during and after the programme, this is what two recent, female graduates had to say:
Mmakena Mavis Molele, who currently stays in Tembisa but is originally from Limpopo said: “When I finished matric, I didn’t have money to study further. I was lucky enough to find an advert on social media on the Samsung EEIP EASTC Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Technician Apprenticeship programme. I applied and was accepted. I learnt a lot from this programme. My skills now include; how to install an aircon; I can also do fault-finding on freezer and cold rooms; and I also learnt soft skills such as how to be a team player.”
Mmakwena believes that her life is much better now that she is a qualified artisan. The skills and qualifications she received have improved her level of awareness. “I’m grateful to Samsung and EASTC, because I was able to open my own business as a result of of this opportunity. Becoming a successful entrepreneur has been a life-long dream of mine”, she said.
“I would like to encourage other young women to also pursue their dreams. My belief is that if you do what you love, then success will follow. Also, if you go into a field similar to mine, then you need to use your hands to market yourself because your skill and how good you are will become your tools for success,” Mmakwena emphasised.
Innocentia Nkopane, a 37-year old mother of three – originally from Lesotho but was raised in Diepkloof, Soweto said: “In 2019, I saw an advert on the Technician Apprenticeship programme. I applied and was accepted. Before participating in this programme, I didn’t have any skills and could not do anything worthwhile with my hands.”
Innocentia is currently unemployed, however with the expertise that she acquired from the programme, she can now fix and service fridges as well as install and service aircons. Even though she does not have her own tools as yet and has to borrow some from neighbours – she is now able to do some work within her community and get paid for it. The skills that she has obtained from the programme have had some positive ripple effects. “I am now able to support my family with the money that I make using my hands. I am also busy saving some of this money so that I can buy my own work tools in the near future,” she adds.
“The future is very bright for women who want to become artisans because these days, there are organisations that are willing to assist women to open their own businesses. With a bit of dedication, passion and determination,you will find that there’s endless opportunities out there. Young women just need to stand up and empower themselves with the necessary knowledge and skills to survive,” said Innocentia.
Samsung has a 10-year plan that is driven under its EEIP programme, which aims to address key developmental aspects linked to the National Development Plan (NDP) and overall transformation of the country’s economy. This also includes the need to empower women as well as increase female influence and participation by changing the male-dominated landscape of the electronics industry, ensuring that women contribute greatly to the country’s 4IR objectives.
Hlubi Shivanda, Director: Business Operations, Innovation and Corporate Affairs at Samsung South Africa said: “We are very proud of the incredible results that have been achieved from this programme so far. This Apprenticeship is helping to push our agenda of women empowerment, inclusivity and equality. As a company, we firmly believe that the future is female and that all businesses, and our industry as a whole, will benefit greatly from placing women in positions of influence and at the forefront of the 4IR agenda.”