OVER the past two years, the Higher Education Resources Services (HERS) programme in the United States has been working to develop training opportunities for women in higher education institutions in the Western Cape.
The Andrew W Mellon Foundation funded a two-year pilot programme enabling 29 women to participate in training in the US and funding two annual workshops for women in the Western Cape.
Arising from this pilot programme, a small group of local women submitted a proposal to the Mellon Foundation to further develop a HERS–SA programme in the Western Cape.
HERS in the US also submitted an application to continue the training of Western Cape women in the US for a further two years (2002 and 2003).
The Mellon Foundation has approved both proposals.
"This funding from Mellon will enable us to set up our own networking and training programme," said Lesley Shackleton, Director of the International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO), who has been spearheading the proposal.
"We are working with women in the five institutions and co-ordinating with the human resources development directors to set up a series of training workshops in identified priority areas.
"A needs assessment has been carried out, and workshops will take place over the next year.
"We now have funds for a part time assistant, and to set up a web page which will carry information about job opportunities and training available."
HERS–SA has contact people on each of the five Western Cape campuses. At UCT the contact person is Lara Hoffenberg.
Currently funding for HERS-SA is administered through UCT, but HERS-SA has been talking with CHEC.
"We believe that HERS-SA can play an important role in the Province in helping the higher education institutions meet equity requirements," said Shackleton.
(Interviews with this year's UCT HERS candidates, Judith du Toit and Kim Weyer, will feature in a forthcoming edition of Monday Paper.