According to International Telecommunication Union (ITU), “The ICT sector is male dominated. One of the reasons why women all over the world celebrate Girls in ICT Day is to promote and encourage more girls and young women to consider studying math, engineering, computing, and science. These are the skills in demand for digital transformation and there is a growing gap between the digital skills needed by employers.
SP Brewery is proud to have two women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics field (STEM) paving the way in ICT. One of them is 23-year-old Stephanie Lemeki, from Manus and Milne Bay Province.
Ms Lemeki, who was recruited by SPB through the Graduate Development Program (GDP), was naturally gifted at ICT and didn’t think twice about her professional choice in life. However, she had an ambition to work at SP Brewery, since high school, hence her applying for the GDP.
Working at SPB has exposed Ms Lemeki to a whole new work experience, as the Company’s ICT infrastructure is not a localized structure but linked to HEINEKEN. Projects she has been working on have come with challenges as she has ventured to improving SPB’s digital environment.
Why did you choose ICT as a career choice?
“As a child, growing up, I’d spend my weekends with uncle who is a Network Engineer by profession. He had computers everywhere at his house and I’d play around with the computers because I was fascinated with them. I got my first laptop when I was in high school and I was naturally good at ICT. I had good grades, and this motivated me to further my knowledge in this subject, as I progressed with my studies at tertiary level.
Why did you apply for the SPB Graduate Development Program?
“That’s a really good question! This goes way back to when I was grade 10 in 2012 at Tokarara High School.
We had a science project that required us to visit manufacturing companies like Coca-Cola and SPB to find out how they make their products. My friends and I took a trip after school to SPB and at the guard house, we were turned away by security on duty. I felt like it was a blow in the face considering our effort to walk all the way in the blazing heat. As I stood outside the Company gate, I made a promise to myself that “One day, I will walk past those gates. I’m going to be part of SP.”
True to her words, she applied for the GDP when she was in her final year at Divine Word University (DWU). SP Brewery had visit DWU to conduct a GDP roadshow.
“I saw it on Facebook, and I knew SP was coming to DWU to do a road-show but I wasn’t able to attend as my Department Head decided to have a meeting for final year students. I was disappointed. I even asked my friends to take some notes but their notes didn’t provide enough information. I wasn’t too happy but reminded myself of the promise in 2012, so I went online to check the application deadline. I submitted my application a few hours before the close of deadline and to my surprise, I was successful!”
An elated Ms Lemeki didn’t bother to apply for other graduate programs in the country. She had SP Brewery in her sight.
“I was happy. I achieved the one goal I had set years earlier of getting past the guard house and being a part of the SP family.”
Reflecting on your GDP journey here at SP, are you happy to be here?
“Oh yes, I am. Some days has its’ struggles and challenges but overall, I am happy to be travelling this journey and be part of the SPB family. The company in general, the vibe is amazing, for example. When you walk to the Head Office department downstairs, colleagues are always greeting you, asking how you are and there is a certain vibe you feel, which to me is great.”
What was your first project on when you started as a GDP?
“I was doing the inventory for all our ICT assets across SPB in all regions. The project took me six months to complete using the SharePoint and Power platforms. This was a new and challenging experience for me as I didn’t have any knowledge in that area. After reading through notes about the older versions of SharePoint and familiarizing myself with it, I was able sail through the project.”
I’m now closing off my second project, which focused mainly on SPB’s network. My third project focuses on upgrading SPB’s network, specifically the Intranet. I have a few months to left to complete this project.
What are some of the challengers you faced as a young professional working in ICT here at SPB?
“One of the challengers I faced was the internet and old ICT infrastructure we are still using. With the projects that I have been involved in recently, I have gained some good experience and insights into the various streams within the technology sector.”