The agenda for the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)’s Institute for the Future of Work (IFoW) 2nd Annual 4IR dialogue included inspiring discussions on the digital divide, automation, block chain, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and more.
Aligned to its commitment to opening more opportunities for equality in the workplace, TUT’s IFoW, the Automotive Industry Transformation Fund (AITF) and the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) have come together to rumble the ground of the South African Automotive Industry, with the official launch of the Future Dealership Program. Through this program, they plan to challenge stereotypes and push boundaries within the sector.
The Future Dealership Program is a four-month management development program, which aims to increase the number of female-owned automotive dealerships and make a dent in the representation of women and people of colour in the automotive sector. The program will host thirty students who, upon completion of the program, would have gained an understanding of the role of the automotive sector in the economy.
A vast range of job opportunities are available in the tech sector such as data analysis, cybersecurity, software development and others. “Girls in Tech” can find their passions and potential career paths in the tech industry by following IFoW, since it fosters an inclusive environment, emphasising that tech is for everyone. This inclusivity helps to break down stereotypes and encourages girls from various backgrounds to pursue tech careers.
Sheryl Mitileni, Informatics student, shared her experiences at the event: “I have learned a lot about the constant changes in technology and the improvement to our daily lives, compared to the way things were done in the past. Seeing the inclusivity in the industry meant a lot to me. My main interest was when the dynamic speakers touched on what could be the fifth generation of artificial intelligence (AI), since we are currently living in the fourth generation of AI.”
The tech sector has the potential to develop into a more diverse and inclusive environment where everyone, regardless of gender, has an opportunity to succeed with the help of platforms like IFoW.
“Before attending the IFoW dialogue, I saw the world of tech seemingly being attacked by Artificial Intelligence and the industry being highly dominated by men. But attending the event has given me the insight that women too occupy space in the industry. I now also believe that AI and ICT can coexist for the advancement of humanity. We had a chance to be enlightened by those who are more enlightened than us,” said Kudakwashe Chifamba, Computer Science student.