Sixteen women who recently graduated from Samsung’s Women Technical Programme are the first to emerge from the programme and make inroads in the company’s electronics repair department.

According to Samsung, the electronics repair industry is dominated by 99% men and the Women Technical Programme is an initiative aimed at changing this.

The programme launched in November 2015, when 20 female students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds were chosen from a group of some 200 at the Samsung Engineering Academy in Ekurhuleni.

These young women had already undergone training on Samsung’s various products and appliances and were then selected for the first ever training programme specifically for hand held mobiles.

“They were trained on how to repair various mobile device models, how to conduct updates to software, as well as the different aspects around fixing hardware. The idea was to turn these young women into qualified cell phone technicians,” Richard Chetty from Samsung said in a statement.

The women will undergo a year of practical work in order to gain necessary and valuable experience. Following a final assessment, they will be certified as technicians.

Samsung explains that while similar training programmes have been established in the industry, there is also a tendency for the hosting company’s responsibility to end when the trainees start their careers.

However, Chetty indicates that Samsung believes in focusing on things for the longer term, which is why the company will remain closely involved in the future development and occupational paths of these graduates.

“Most importantly, these young ladies are merely the trailblazers of what we hope will become a flood of young female technical learners in South Africa. We are planning to have three intakes every year for women, although each intake will cover a different product focus area,” he said.

Samsung added that it is considering the bigger picture with courses of this nature as they are designed to develop skills and create jobs and will even include training in aspects of entrepreneurship, so that future graduates have the opportunity to set up small businesses of their own.