We were honoured to be invited back by AB4IR and the Goethe-Institut again this year to present the second cohort of the Drone Divas Programme. The programme’s focus is on empowering young women through developing their 4IR technology skills and experience. With so many career opportunities available in the growing South African drone industry, this became the logical focus of the project. Funding from the Goethe-Institut made the initial programme possible in 2021, which proved very successful with all the Divas being placed in internships in various drone organisations in Gauteng and one of the Divas obtaining their commercial drone pilot licenses.
This year the Goethe-Institut agreed to fund the programme again, hosted by AB4IR at their facility in Mabopane and the second iteration of the Drone Divas programme saw 24 young women between the ages of 18 and 25 years who attend the two-week course. All the Divas originated from Mabopane, Gauteng and were without permanent employment.
Although the core focus of the original programme remained the same, lessons learnt from 2021 enabled us to make some small adjustments, to ensure this year’s programme was even more successful. The Divas gained experience in drone flying, Computer Aided Design (CAD), 3D printing, operational drone planning and compiling risk assessments. The programme included both a theoretical and practical component, culminating in a final written project and examination. The passion, energy and focus all the Divas demonstrated ensured all their hard work paid off resulting in a 100% pass rate.
The skills and experience they gained throughout the programme prepared each of them for a potential career in the aviation industry as a drone pilot, drone mechanic or aviation safety and quality officer. Whilst they will need to study further to gain tertiary qualifications from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) in order to perform these roles, their imminent internship placements will further their experience working in a commercial drone business. We are extremely proud to have played our part in developing the skills, knowledge, experience and confidence of these young women and look forward to seeing our Drone Divas forge their careers in the South African aviation and drone industry.