The Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA), together with Wits Business School, has launched a dedicated executive development programme which aims to empower women in the energy and water sectors in South Africa.
The programme, “Women in Leadership”, kicked off on Thursday 18 March 2021 at Wits Business School’s Parktown, Johannesburg, premises and aims to provide women in management positions with the skills they need to succeed in the energy and water sectors of our economy.
Mpho Mookapele, the CEO of EWSETA, says “according to the EWSETA 2019/20 Sector Skills Plan, in 2019 the sector employed 34% women and 66% men. The same report details that while there has been an increase in representation by women in managerial positions, women remain under-represented at 38% in these roles.”
“As a SETA we are mandated to not only drive skills development in the sectors we serve, but to ensure that we drive gender imperatives so that our sectors are more equitably represented by women.”
“In funding this programme, EWSETA seeks to capacitate women operating in mid- to senior-level management positions with the skills they require to gain their rightful place in what for too long has been a male-dominated environment.”
EWSETA has selected 20 women to attend the ‘Women in Leadership’ programme that is being funded from the EWSETA’s 2020/21 discretionary grant budget.
One of these is Bridgete Bodlingwe, a seconded manager at Eskom’s Smart Grid department and in her official role is Network Operations and Support Middle Manager, who oversees 130 employees. As part of the company’s coaching and mentoring team, Bodlingwe is passionate about personal development, motivation, mentoring and mindset shift. Amongst other accolades, she was appointed the Eskom Women Advancement Programme (EWAP) champion of the year in 2016 and the team which she co-led won a EWAP Team of the Year award the same year.
Bodlingwe says, “Leadership is a passion of mine, hence the desire for growth and making a difference in the sector. But it was specific focus on the challenges faced by women in leadership which attracted me to apply for this leadership programme. The outcomes should be improved confidence, leadership skills and the effective application of knowledge, as a women leader in a male-dominated industry. This, without losing my feminism and uniqueness in resolving the strategic challenges faced by the industry for the benefit of the country.”
EWSETA’s objective with this initiative is to help to transform the thinking patterns of women working in leadership positions. It seeks to create an innovative, culturally intelligent workforce which will thrive through the use of strategic thinking and cutting-edge leadership skills.
Ultimately, the intention is to help women in leadership positions to gain skills for their own growth, to help other women do the same, and to build networks of similarly minded individuals who will bring gender transformation into the sector.