Inspired Testing partners 4IR4HER to FastTrack IT skills development in SA

Vinolia Dlamini, Executive Director, 4IR 4 HER, Nadine du Toit, Managing Executive: Africa at Inspired Testing and Gillian Watkins, Executive Director, 4IR 4HER
Vinolia Dlamini, Executive Director, 4IR 4 HER, Nadine du Toit, Managing Executive: Africa at Inspired Testing and Gillian Watkins, Executive Director, 4IR 4HER

Global software testing company Inspired Testing has partnered with 4IR 4 HER – an NPO created to promote and develop grassroots skills and create employment opportunities for underprivileged women in the local technology industry – to help FastTrack skills development in South Africa.

Inspired Testing has made an initial R137,000 donation to 4IR 4 HER, which relies almost entirely on corporate sponsorship and funding, and has pledged to work alongside the organisation to facilitate, consult and guide its efforts as an active trainer and employer in the industry.

“Organisations face a number of crucial challenges in the workplace that we’ve never seen before, especially since the onset of Covid restrictions last year,” says Nadine du Toit, Managing Executive: Africa at Inspired Testing.

“Not only are we dealing with completely new ways of working and engaging remotely and as distributed Teams, but the changes coincide with the rapid uptake in new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) that are shifting the way organisations develop, test and quality assure their software and services,” says du Toit.

“These changes bring grassroots movements like 4IR 4 HER into focus because with all this disruption in the industry comes great opportunities for us to tackle some of the historic discrepancies like the gender gap and wage gap that has resulted in far fewer female participants and leaders. Together with 4IR 4 HER I believe we can take big strides forward, both in advancing women in technology, and preparing future leaders for the coming changes in the technological landscape.”

4IR 4 HER – which stands for Fourth Industrial Revolution for Her – seeks to find, nurture and empower the next generation of female entrepreneurs from grassroots communities in rural and underprivileged communities around South Africa’s urban regions.

“The digital revolution is already upon us, and now is the time we need to work together to redress the gross imbalance of women representation in the ICT industry,” says Mabitsela, 4IR 4 HER chairwoman and managing director of Dynamic DNA.

“Because of the emergence and rapid development of new technologies there will be a shift in the way the labour market operates, and this will open the door to job creation. We want to empower more women to be employed by organisations in the technology sector, to become independent, to participate and contribute in the digital economy,” she says.

“We have a narrow window of opportunity to make the most of this transition by creating a groundswell of educated, trained and socially adjusted women in the workforce, so working alongside established and experienced companies like Inspired Testing – which is itself an active promoter of women in leadership positions – is critical to us raising awareness and achieving our goals.”

Du Toit believes that because of the rapid changing technology and client expectations changing, organisations are having to adapt and implement smarter ways of driving talent acquisition and making learning a priority in the culture of the organization.

“A lot of the skills we need are new, there’s no formal qualifications or certifications for the roles we’re defining today,” she says. “Working with 4IR 4 HER gives us a high-level view of candidates that are already getting trained and versed in this technology. Companies like ours are constantly having to think about how our internal roles are changing and look to the future, and this is how 4IR 4 HER fits into the picture.”

Inspired Testing presented 4IR 4 HER with a cheque for the donation of R137,000 at a special event held at Dynamic Tech House, 2 Venus Street, Melrose Estate. Industry leaders discussed and shared insights into the challenges and changes occurring in the industry as well as solutions and the way forward to these barriers.