Women in Engineering and Information Technology (WEIT) officially launched at Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) on 13 October 2015 and was held in the Japie van Lill Auditorium. Dr Muthoni Masinde, WEIT Patron and Head of the Information Technology department opened the proceedings and introduced the guests.
The merSETA Chair for Engineering Development for the TVET Sector and Technology Education deals with the Advancing STEM among female students in TVET colleges and Technical Schools in the two provinces (Free State and Northern Cape). It supports the national agenda of increasing the pool of graduates in scarce Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects and specifically broadening access for female students in the STEM field.
A visit to the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth – who had implemented an initiative for their female students (WELA) – gave rise to the idea to follow a similar route here at CUT. The initiative would, however, not be exclusively for university students, while located at CUT, the project will encompass female students and learners from TVET Colleges and technical schools. The efforts of the past few months have culminated in the formation of WEIT. The students elected a committee that commenced with the groundwork for the official launch of the association.
Prof. Alfred Ngowi, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, welcomed the participants to the launch event. WEIT is an initiative in his faculty, which made this a great moment to reflect on the success of the endeavour so far, and success to come. Mr Slabbert, merSETA Regional Manager for the Free State and Northern Cape, challenged and motivated female students to careers in Engineering. Mr Slabbert also officially launched WEIT, receiving a thunderous applause from the gathering.