De Beers Group was proud to host WomEng for the first time in Canada for a one-day pilot GirlEng workshop for high school girls in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (NWT).

WomEng is a South Africa-based non-profit organization that is focused on supporting girls and women to seek careers in the engineering and technology workforce. It was founded in 2006 and is active in more than 24 countries around the world.

The December 8 Yellowknife workshop hosted 17 high school girls to participate in a series of activities and discussions about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. The workshop was led by Anjani Harjeven, Chief Operating Officer of Womhub/WomEng from Johannesburg, South Africa.

Julia Stitcko, a mine planning engineer at Gahcho Kué Mine, led a group of De Beers volunteers who organized the workshop, which included a panel discussion involving women working for De Beers in STEM fields, including engineering, geology, and environmental science.

“The reason De Beers decided to host this event is to try to get more women into the workforce so that we can get more diverse teams and to level the playing field for women trying to get into the mining industry,” said Stitcko.

Harjeven said this was a great opportunity to expand the program outreach to a new country.

“We have had the incredible privilege of running the Awesome Engineer GirlEng program in over 24 countries and to be able to run it for the first time in Canada has been such an incredible experience. It was such an incredible journey to see the girls engage in our very first (Canadian) workshop and work with experienced engineers and being really curious around what their life experiences have been like and having them leave with a found passion for a STEM career.”

With the pilot workshop complete, the De Beers team will now look to see how it can be more widely rolled out in the future in the NWT as part of the company’s Building Forever initiative.

Lyndon Clark, General Manager of Gahcho Kué Mine, welcomed the group and said: “Studies have proven that diverse workforces are strong and more productive. That’s why we need to continue to eliminate barriers to encourage more women in STEM, not only to increase the number of women working for De Beers, but for all companies.”

CLICK HERE to view a short video from the event.

Since 2017, De Beers Group has been a global thematic HeForShe Champion for UN Women and has set a goal of engaging 10,000 girls in STEM by 2030. In Canada, the company has funded more than 50 scholarships for women in STEM and supported 60 young teens from the NWT, Nunavut and Northern Ontario in summer science camps, including one held in the NWT in July 2022. In addition, De Beers has hosted three women in mining luncheons for high school students between 2017-2019.

De Beers Group has been working in Canada since the early 1960s. The company has an active exploration program in Canada and operates the joint venture Gahcho Kué Mine in the NWT. De Beers is closing Victor Mine in Northern Ontario and Snap Lake Mine in the NWT and is advancing the promising Chidliak Diamond Project on Baffin Island, Nunavut.

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