Sasol celebrated 20 years of hosting Techno X, one of South Africa’s biggest career guidance exhibitions. Held virtually for the first time, the exhibition showcased the amazing possibilities of careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, and Innovation (STEAMI) to the next generation of leaders and innovators.
During the five-day exhibition, science and technology came alive through interactive workshops and exhibition stands, expert talks and presentations by local and global leaders in various STEAMI fields.
“Our involvement in education and other community upliftment initiatives is intended to reinforce our promise to society, which is to be a catalyst for positive change, driving shared socio-economic value, while caring deeply for our people, planet, and communities,” said Charlotte Mokoena, Sasol Executive Vice President: Human Resources and Stakeholder Relations.
“This year, Sasol Techno X expanded its focus to include art and innovation, underscoring our theme, ‘Create. Explore. Innovate’. The expanded emphasis was inspired by growing evidence that our children need several more key components to thrive in this ever-evolving world. By embracing the movement from STEM to STEAMI, we wanted to recognise the critical role creativity and innovation play in creating learners and students who will thrive in the present and future.”
Sasol also believes that investing in home-grown STEAMI skills can help South Africa to reduce its reliance on imported innovation and technology as well as to create solutions that address local problems.
Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education, gave the keynote address at the opening of Techno X, and congratulated Sasol for 20 years of an “excellent initiative” that is held to ensure that learners become more skilled and employable.
“Our future as a people hinges on accelerated performance by our learners in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and this career exhibition is critical in igniting interest,” said Minister Motshekga.
“As we do so, we do not neglect the foundation of learning: literacy and numeracy. However, I implore all young people to grab opportunities in the STEAMI-related fields and build the South Africa of our dreams.”
Keynote speaker Nicky Verd, an author and technology thought leader, said that South Africa’s fugure growth depends on young people embracing technologies and innovation. “Our continent needs more entrepreneurs, idea makers, innovators, technologists, scientists, engineers and disruptors to fill the new gaps.”
Verd encouraged learners and graduates to never “sit back”. “Don’t allow yourself to be baptised with only a ‘job’ mentality. You can do more today with your life having just an internet connection and a smartphone, and that’s an opportunity our parents and grandparents never had. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has democratised entrepreneurship and there is so much opportunity now. You cannot stop the Fourth Industrial Revolution but you can influence its direction and impact on your life. Don’t focus on the threats; focus on the opportunities!”
In his address, Ludwick Marishane, entrepreneur and founder of Headboy Industries, also inspired learners to start young, always be learning, execute plans properly and take advantage of all opportunities. Marishane, who invented the world’s first water-less gel cleanser while still at school, said that his business was built on a cellphone. While still at school, he typed his 8 000 word business plan on his smartphone because he didn’t have a laptop. He won multiple innovation awards and with his prize money, he was able to fund his business by himself.
“A high level of literacy and education is what’s needed to compete in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and we also need to increase the number of STEM graduates to make us globally competitive.”
“If something is in your way and it’s a legislative problem, let’s go to government and change that story. Let’s build the world we want to live in. Hopefully the young people can build that world because they are the ones who have to live in it after it’s built.”
You can still catch some of the highlights of Techno X. To access, click here.