Atlas Copco strengthens foundation for women empowerment

On 24 May 2018, Atlas Copco and Rand Air, in partnership with the Reality Wellness Group, showed their support of women empowerment by inviting female learners to come and experience life in a corporate environment.

The objective of the initiative was to encourage the young ladies to identify and embrace their inner strengths and abilities and to equip them with the motivation and knowledge required to persevere in achieving their goals for a promising and successful future.

The Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work initiative holds a special place in the hearts of Atlas Copco employees and for the fifth consecutive year the company opened its doors to welcome 27 excited young women, offering them a jam-packed programme filled with inspiration. This year Atlas Copco invited schools from far and wide and learners from different walks of life; ten learners each from Willowmoore High (Benoni) and Ponego Secondary School (Katlehong) and seven learners from Strathyre (Little Haven) Girls Home (Kensington, Johannesburg).

Following a tasty and nutritious breakfast and a brief introductory session, the young women received an inspiring presentation by Reality Wellness Group Psychologist, Candice Janks. Alongside the work environment, Candice also focused on essential life skills such as building self-esteem, setting goals and identifying career choices. According to Candice, if the girls are able to thoroughly understand themselves and what they can offer the world, they will be better equipped to reach their goals. “Life is going to throw you curve balls with unforeseen challenges along the way. Society may dictate who you can or can’t be. Listen to the voice in your head and rise above these challenges. You are uniquely special. There is nothing more powerful than believing in yourself,” encourages Candice.

Armed with knowledge and motivation, the keen learners were tasked to bring out their inner creativity by creating a vision board displaying photos and words depicting their personal goals and dreams. Angie Bazan, Operations Manager at Reality Wellness Group, guided the girls to not only discover their physical but also their mental and spiritual strengths, a highly beneficial exercise that assists the young women in choosing their future career paths.

Nicola van der Heever, Student Liaison Officer from Willowmoore High says she is confident that the learners will use the knowledge provided to them and will put in the hard work necessary to successfully achieve their life goals. “They don’t need to rely solely on others as they are responsible for their own future. By having a better understanding about themselves and their abilities, these young ladies can set attainable goals. I am so grateful to Atlas Copco for inviting us and motivating our future female generation to learn more about themselves and to strive to be all they can be. Today taught them the value of having an attainable goal and they have also understood the importance of setting long and short-term goals.”

Two enthusiastic learners who participated in the programme, Philile Mkhonza from Strathyre and Luvesha Chetty, a grade 9 student from Willowmoore High share their thoughts and both agree that creating the vision board was their favourite part of the day: Philile, a top computer application technology matric pupil, wants to utilise her passion for computers to study computer science at Vega School or at the University of Pretoria. “I am so grateful for the invitation. The activities were mind opening and made me think about myself such as my strengths. Angie inspired me to speak in public. My mind is now open to a new me.” Luvesha wants to fulfil her childhood passion to become a fashion designer and travel the world. “I am a shy person but I have learnt not to give up and to keep on trying. I really appreciate having been invited because thanks to this programme, I am now more confident.”

The final and thought-provoking presentation was presented by Kathryn Coetzer, Regional Communications and ACademy Manager, who carried a strong message, “We are all unique and we don’t all fit into one mould.” I hope that these young women were inspired and that they will embrace everything that they’ve learned.”

The female-focused day concluded with the learners each receiving a gift bag filled with toiletries, a water bottle and a teddy bear wearing an Atlas Copco t-shirt.

In conclusion, Atlas Copco Group Human Resources Manager, Wendy Buffa-Pace says:” This initiative gives us as an industrial company the opportunity to engage with young ladies and get an understanding of what future female employees are seeking in an employer.  It is wonderful to see these girls’ excitement and zest for life. I sincerely hope they all learnt something from the sessions they attended and hope to see some of them again next year.”

Willowmoore High learners with student liaison officer, Nicola van der Heever (far left) & Angie Bazan, Operations Manager at Reality Wellness Group (far right) proudly displaying their creative vision boards

Learners creating a vision board to bring out their inner creativity during take a girl child to school initiative at Atlas Copco

Kathryn Coezer (centre) with all the learners who participated in the Atlas Copco take a girl child to school initiative