STEP (Science Technology Engineering Production) “Inclusion for Innovation” Series

Research has shown that cohesive interactions in the workplace for those in various Science, Technology, Engineering and Production (STEP) related areas is key to successful production. Our interpersonal skills are important when dealing with colleagues, clients and external sources. We depend on our communication skills, values, ethics, morals and respect to further our personal and professional growth.

For this reason, the Women in Engineering Leadership Association (WELA), housed within the School of Engineering at Nelson Mandela University, created a four part workshop series for early to mid-career male and female individuals in STEP related fields. These workshops will focus on professional, personal and career development as well as diversity and inclusion for innovation.

Part one kicked off on 26 July with Career Development, which enabled participants to develop their personal branding and presentation skills, as well as networking, and put career advice to use. Debbie Derry handled Personal Branding and Presentation Skills. Chantal Bezuidenhout discussed networking and Curwyn Mapaling talked about Career Development. Each facilitator added their own expertise on these topics, all centered on furthering professional skills.

Part two on 27 July was 7 Choices of Women in the Workplace was a dynamic, interactive experience using multi- media, creative activities, self-assessments and group work. The course was presented by Miemsie de Jager and is built upon the 7 choices as identified by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg in their book ‘BOOM’.

Part two continued on 26 and 27 September with SWEAT Line, Lean Tools and Problem solving focused on practical learning. The participants worked in two groups and completed all workshops. The SWEAT LINE introduced participants to the Simulated Work Environment and highlight the role of efficiency, teamwork, leadership and communication within an effective organization. Lean Tools & Problem Solving was aimed at lean manufacturing implementation team members, production team leaders, process and industrial engineers and middle management.

Our recent workshops, which was Project Management, was held on 24 to 26 October. It involved Managing Projects, presented by Dr Karl van der Merve and Managing People, which was presented by Dr Belinda du Plooy. The participants took part in organizing a charity event as an example and learnt how to organize time, resources and all other factors associated with managing a project, with Dr van der Merve. They also learned the value of people within the workforce, as well as the value of communication and eliminating bias, with Dr du Plooi.

We still have the Developmental Workshops on 22 to 23 November to go, which is our last workshops for the STEP series. We look forward to the continuation of the STEP workshop series and we hope we have made a difference in the professional capacity of Science, Technology, Engineering and Production.

WELA Coordinator

Lindl du Preez