The ICT industry has not always been alluring or attractive to women in South Africa with many decision-making roles in this industry still male dominated, however Networks Unlimited is determined to change this picture. The company, a value-added distributor of converged technology, data centre, networking, and security technology throughout Africa, is currently training 108 individuals through a 12-month internship and learnership programme across various functions of the business, of which 74 are young women from previously disadvantaged communities who are eager to learn workplace skills.
One of the technical interns currently in the internship programme is Xoliswa Pearl Mhlanga, a 26-year old from KwaZulu-Natal who says that she was elated when she was informed that she was selected for the programme.
After matriculating, Mhlanga furthered her studies at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), where she acquired a National Diploma in IT (Business Applications). She says her interest in IT was sparked when her teacher for the first time introduced her to a computer system during computer class in primary school. “I can vividly remember the feeling of desire to learn how a computer works; what it can do, and how it can make life easier. Hence, shortly after that, I convinced my parents to buy me a personal computer so that I could practise using it and improve my skills,” recalls Mhlanga.
“My biggest goal for the duration of my internship at Networks Unlimited, is to gain more insight about how to troubleshoot and assist people with their daily computer problems. Furthermore, I would like to learn more about networking, security, technical applications, software engineering, and computer engineering,” she continues. “I want to learn about the different aspects so that one day, I too can train and educate aspiring IT practitioners.”
“It is evident that the ICT industry is developing extremely fast, and that it is undoubtedly an important part of people’s daily lives in various forms. Thus, it is inspiring to see there are more females taking an interest in IT and excelling in various expertise within the industry.
“As an inquisitive individual, I am inspired by the amount of knowledge and information that I am exposed to by the Networks Unlimited IT team. I am also very grateful for this opportunity to help harness my IT skills and to grow in this career path I have chosen,” adds Mhlanga.
Anton Jacobsz, MD at Networks Unlimited comments: “Running the internship and learnership programmes is incredibly rewarding. To witness young individuals grow and develop their business and technology skills, and to know these expertise will filter through to their communities and, hopefully, inspire more young people, particularly females to pursue a career in the IT sector, is definitely worth it.”