Konica Minolta South Africa helps tackle the gender STEM gap

| 5 November 2020

Encouraging a passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)

Konica Minolta South Africa celebrates international STEM Day, on 8 November, by supporting and encouraging a passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)

November 2020, Johannesburg – Konica Minolta South Africa celebrates international STEM Day, on 8 November, by supporting and encouraging a passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects among the youth. Konica Minolta encourages the youth and in particular young women, in order to inspire the next generation of engineers, technicians, inventors and business leaders who will transform industries and enrich people's lives.

The company has a record of trail blazers in their field including Tebogo Mbiza, National Workshop Technician at Konica Minolta South Africa, who is one of the only female technicians at the business. As a technician, Mbiza provides service and customer support during field visits or dispatches, manages all site installation, repairs, maintenance and test tasks, as well as diagnoses errors or technical problems and determines proper solutions amongst other responsibilities.

She joined the business through a learnership programme in 2017 and following the successful completion of her 12-month learnership contract, she was then given the opportunity to fill the role of technician at the business’s National Workshop.

"Our industry is very male dominated, particularly when it comes to the technician roles. People are always amazed when I go out to client meetings or call outs, to see that a woman is in the role of a technician. Even within the business, women are always curious as to why I chose this line of work, over administration or customer services," says Mbiza.

Her passion for Information Technology is also resulting in her upskilling herself through an IT foundational course in networking. She now forms part of the team that will be running the learnership programme and looks forward to transmitting some of that passion to the next generation of technicians, especially young women.

Coordinating efforts to boost science and technology roles for women

One person sharing that passion for imparting a love for STEM and cultivating a greater understanding and consideration among women for STEM career opportunities is Busisiwe Mhlongo, who is the National Training Co-Ordinator at Konica Minolta South Africa. Mhlongo started at the company’s head office in 2015 through a learnership for IT technical support before becoming a Technical Workshop technician in 2016 and was thereafter promoted to her current role.

“I have always loved problem solving and fixing things with my hands, which is why I loved my time as a technician in the business. I didn’t expect to make the move across to training which was offered to me down the line, but I was encouraged by my colleagues and supervisor, and I am glad that, that was the case, because now I am loving the training side of the business and office-based nature of the role,” says Mhlongo. 

She is inspired by the youth and their love of technology and she always encourages them to further their knowledge in STEM subjects and awareness around career and education possibilities that these unlock for them.

“I always try to motivate and inspire the youth, especially young girls who come for the learnership to consider technical roles to help close the gender gap within the industry, because it is a great foundation to build a successful and fulfilling career not only in our industry, but any customer service-related business,” concludes Mhlongo.

Mbiza and Mhlongo are just two examples of the women whose STEM-enabled careers are allowing them to prosper at Konica Minolta South Africa and with the encouragement that their examples are setting for future generations, they will be just the tip of the iceberg in the near future.