Head of Department, Ms Jacqui Gooch
Bursary recipients and parents
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is an honour to address you all today, and to present our most recent and outstanding recipients of the Masakh’iSizwe Bursary Programme for 2016.
With June being ‘Youth Month’, it is only fitting that we celebrate talented young people, and continue to expand their development opportunities through programmes like this one.
The Masakh’iSizwe Bursary Programme awards study bursaries to qualifying students and focuses on attracting and facilitating the development and availability of the skills identified as scarce and critical.
Over the past 5 years, the Masakh’iSizwe Bursary Programme has awarded 361 new bursaries to deserving applicants.
This is in a concerted effort to respond to the current and future capacity demands of the Department, municipalities and the ten private companies who form the Bursary Collaboration Venture. In addition, it provides a bursary collaborative venture with the private sector to share resources in support of socio-economic development initiatives, while addressing skills shortage in the sector to maximise the opportunities for learning and employment.
Looking back at the history and track record of Masakh’iSizwe Bursary Programme since its inception during 2006, we can be proud of the support we have given to many deserving award beneficiaries. Our Department, together with our Bursary Collaboration Venture partners, has supported many bursars in the transport, engineering and built environment to obtain their qualifications as technicians, technologist or professional graduates in various disciplines.
We continue to boast a retention record that places us in the top level of successful bursary programmes in the country and we have been contacted by researchers to benchmark our programme. We have also maintained a 100% success rate for the past six years regarding the co-ordination and facilitation of placement and rotation of our interns to ensure that they receive the required exposure, experience and/or training at the competency level as determined by the relevant higher education institutions. This would not have been possible without the on-going support of our 10 BCV partners and 49 companies assisting with work integrated learning placements within the sector.
I should also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work being done by the three Higher Education Institutions that form part of our Bursary Collaboration Venture partnership processes (The University of Cape Town, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and Stellenbosch University). We all individually and collectively contribute to the skills development and capacity enhancement of our bursars, be it on an academic level by providing support programmes and work experience required to obtain their qualifications, or employing graduates in the industry after obtaining their diplomas or degrees. The continued success of our programme is the result of the shared commitment of our valued partners.
Central to this venture are our young Ladies and Gentlemen, our Bursars, who sit on my left. They are the reason why we are here tonight. We are proud to award you a full bursary sponsored through the Masakh’iSizwe Bursary programme and our partner companies. And to our parents or guardians present here tonight, thank you for your commitment to the future of your sons or daughters, and the role that they will play in the future in growing our economy. They need your on-going support during their study period.
I also wish to acknowledge the efforts of the Directorate: Professional Development, with a specific thank you to the Masakh’iSizwe team for their dedication to the programme.
Let me take this opportunity of sharing with you some of the initiatives that we, as a Department, have undertaken in the recent times in supporting professional development and to provide future opportunities to expose graduates to projects.
My Department has launched a Professional Development Programme to compliment the bursary programme by employing some of our graduates and providing a mentoring programme once they are registered as candidates with the appropriate professional body. The main objective of this programme is to capacitate candidates to attain professional registration thereby creating a pool of young, talented professionals to act as a feeding pipeline to reduce the vacancy rate within the department. The underpinning concept of the Professional Development Programme is mentoring and coaching, which creates a platform for sharing and transferring of experience, expertise, competencies and skills between young professionals and experienced registered professionals. Our partner companies also contribute to professional development through their own programmes.
My Department also provides that, where practically and contractually possible, at least one graduate must be included in the project proposal to give them exposure to infrastructure projects and thus assist with skills transfer through partnerships.
I wish the Bursars of 2016 a fruitful year and urge them to take every opportunity offered by the bursary programme and the higher education institutions to better their education and work readiness, as this will ensure well-rounded graduates who can take up their roles in society, the department or the broader industry and by doing so, contribute to the economic growth of our country.