In Guatemala, gender inequality exists insofar as women tend to be overburdened by domestic housework and caretaking, preventing them from pursuing their professional career aspirations. Local circumstances such as this structurally and systemically hinder the participation of women in the field of Science - Technology - Engineering - Mathematics (STEM).
To promote coordination between the different actors involved, Swisscontact's Innova project has developed a Work-Based Training Council - Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as a coordination space for the technology sector. Its aim is to co-create —and provide feedback—, alternative processes and solutions, as well as training systems that will strengthen employees and promote the participation of women as representatives of organisations of the ICT sector.
Through this coordinated work, with the support of the Information Technology Outsourcing Commission (ITO) of the Guatemalan Association of Exporters (AGEXPORT) and together with the business sector of the Work-Based Training Council - ICT, it was possible to create important resources. For example, six competency profiles for the technology sector were developed:
Based on these profiles, Swisscontact worked with the business sector and academic institutions such as the Universidad del Valle of Guatemala and Kinal (Tech and Labor Educational Centre) to draft curricular designs aimed at developing training processes for junior developers and front-end developers. These professions are highly demanded by the private sector.
Additionally, the project has worked with business training entities that are specifically focused on the tech sector. Through this collaboration, it has been possible to adapt curricula that respond to the needs and requirements of the business sector in content, methodology, format (for example, in the form of a bootcamp), and logistics.
The company Laserants, which offers training for specialised areas of technology, has carried out training related to:
The collaboration between LaserAnts and Swisscontact has allowed more than 30 students to successfully complete courses in Software Quality Control and Cloud Development. The joint development of recruitment and development of curricula for work-based training has contributed to strengthening the Guatemalan labour force trained in technology. The courses not only help young people but also contribute to the growth of companies where students work.
Human resources staff of tech companies were trained by Core Code io. The Technical Recruitment training process aimed to improve HR staff's technical and strategic knowledge of the sector, certifying them as Technical Recruiters and making the hiring process of human talent more effective.
In 2021, the Innova project conducted a "Study of continuous training needs based on the technology sector workplace”, which showed that women in the tech sector represent only 20% of the labour force. By promoting these alternative training processes, the participation of women in the various associations and female participants enrolled (37% women) has thus surpassed the level of women’s participation that the tech sector traditionally holds.
Taking this into consideration, more information is being gathered that will allow the creation and promotion of processes that will provide greater access to women to train in tech areas. An upcoming "Study on the participation of women in the field of work of ICT" will provide results and recommendations to the academia and business actors, for the implementation of practices that will promote equitable and inclusive labour participation.
"Thanks to the recommendation of my career professor at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG), I had the opportunity to be part of the Swisscontact Innova Project, taking the official course of International Software Testing Qualification Board taught by LaserAnts, through which I obtained the international certification at Tester Foundation Level endorsed by ISTQB", explains Carol Arévalo, adding that this experience contributed greatly to her academic and professional development.
This project is financed by the Esperanza Foundation, among other donors. It is part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, which is co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA.