“Challenge today and anticipate tomorrow.” With these wise words, 30 girl learners from various schools in Gauteng were welcomed to Saab South Africa’s local head office on 23 August.
These pupils – from Himalaya Secondary School, Hoërskool Silverton and Modiri Technical High – were visiting Saab as part of its annual Take a Girl Child to Work day.
This day offers girls an interactive experience where they are treated to career advice and insights into a specific company in order to gain valuable insight into their anticipated career path.
Saab South Africa, with its specialised focus on defence and security technology, draws particular interest from pupils who plan to follow a career in engineering – however, as was highlighted on the day, a career path at Saab doesn’t need to be pigeonholed to include those in the engineering field alone.
System engineering, electronic engineering and the finer aspects of microchip development were covered on the day, with emphasis also placed on career opportunities in the communication and administrative fields at Saab.
Learners were taken on a tour of the Saab facilities, where they got the opportunity to observe the major advances of 3D printing, defence utilities and microwave facilities – a highlight for many of the learners.
The anechoic chamber, with its room kitted with sponge-like pyramid spikes, was described as a fascinating experience by the learners, who, under the insightful guidance by Dr Dirk Baker, got the opportunity to observe the specialised echo-free room where microwave frequencies are tested.
Boipelo Mabale, a grade 10 pupil at Hoërskool Silverton, described this as her best experience of the day.
The day’s teachings were put into practice with an interactive game simulating a production line. The game, for which learners had to use Lego blocks to build an airplane, aimed to illustrate the benefits of streamlining work processes, and also proved to be a huge highlight on the day.
Betty Phoshoko, who teaches Life Orientation at Modiri Technical High, said experiences like the Take a Girl Child to Work initiative provide invaluable guidance to her pupils. “It is of particular relevance to pupils from Modiri Technical, where we teach mechanical, electronic and civil engineering. I will definitely bring another group next year.”
Apart from inspiring a career path, Saab’s Take a Girl Child to Work day also inspired learners on an aspirational level.
Lehlogonolo Dithole, who is in the 11th grade at Himalaya Secondary School, commented: “This day has inspired me to learn more and study harder. It was great.”