Vodacom assists top students with bursaries for higher education

BRAND VOICE | More than 100 students receive bursaries based on academic excellence and financial need

Some of the students who have received Vodacom bursaries in 2018.
Some of the students who have received Vodacom bursaries in 2018.
Image: Supplied/Vodacom

Vodacom has recommitted to providing 110 students with bursaries worth a total of R12-million per year to study at higher institutions of learning.

For the 2018 academic year, 40 students have been awarded new bursaries to study at any higher-learning institution of their choice. This cohort includes the 10 top achievers from the Department of Basic Education’s matric results announcement for 2017.

Through its corporate social investment wing, Vodacom awards new bursaries every year, based on academic excellence and financial need. The students selected for the 2018 intake have all matriculated with a minimum average pass rate of 75%.

A further 70 bursaries have been awarded to current university students entering their second, third or fourth year of study, making a total of 110 Vodacom bursaries awarded for 2018.

Vodacom seeks to complement the academic programme with practical life skills and best practice, thereby positioning the students to better contribute to South Africa’s economy. Additionally, the programme is intended to bridge the gap between achievement at tertiary institutions and success in the workplace.

Since the bursary scheme began in the late 1990s, more than 1,000 study grants have been made available to deserving students for tertiary education.

From the 2018 academic year’s 40 students, one disabled student has been included, to give an opportunity to students who might otherwise be excluded from bursaries in the particular fields of information technology and engineering.

In a bid to help tackle skills development and job creation within the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, Vodacom has embarked on a drive to help empower unemployed youths with ICT skills training.

The more skilled the young people are, the greater their opportunity for employment

Last month, Vodacom – through its Mobile Education programme in partnership with Cisco and MICT-Seta – wrapped up a youth development training project at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. The programme was aimed at training unemployed youths in ICT skills and to help develop them into ICT entrepreneurs.

Travis Goate, sales executive officer for Vodacom in the Eastern Cape region, said: “This is Vodacom’s contribution towards skills development and job-creation opportunities for unemployed youths. It is premised on the concept that the more skilled the young people are, the greater their opportunity for employment. We know that Cisco technical skills are some of the most sought-after skills in the ICT industry.”

The skills training seeks to equip young people with relevant ICT skills to help install IT equipment and provide instruction in high-end computer skills. As part of the initiative, the youths received skills training in A+, N+ and 3G connectivity, CCNA and IT security.

For the financial year ended March 31 2017, a total of 367 young people across the country received much-needed training and work experience in various government institutions. Importantly, 25% of these youths have since secured permanent employment.

Last November, 10 graduates from the Vodacom Academy were selected and will now be supported by the Vodacom Innovator Trust to develop their business ideas, models and plans while also focusing on other business development areas.

Goate said those same 10 graduates would now move on to the Innovator Trust’s Enterprise Development Programme for Entrepreneurs, which has been hugely successful since its inception in 2014. To date, the trust has successfully incubated more than 50 small, medium-sized and micro enterprises.

The Vodacom youth skills development project focuses in particular on helping to nurture skills needed in the ICT industry, with the potential for beneficiaries to be offered practical experience in projects such as ICT installation and connectivity in schools and in rural areas. Trainees will also be used to provide technical support to schools that are part of the Vodacom Mobile Education programme.

Sunday World in association with the Vodacom Foundation