by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – SCIENCE, mathematics, engineering and technology (STEM) are critical to the sustainable development of Africa.
The continent though still faces challenges in developing a pipeline of talent with the relevant skills needed now and into the future.
Exacerbating the issue is that some talented youth lack funding to access funding to study further.
It is against the backdrop of these disparities that to strengthen inclusive participation in STEM, Vodacom is inviting applications for its 2024 merit bursary programme.
The bursary is open to full-time undergraduate university students in South Africa who are pursuing further education in STEM fields but lack the necessary resources.
“At Vodacom, we are aiming to expand opportunities in STEM through initiatives like our merit bursary programme, which increase young people’s participation in STEM and change lives for the better,” said
Njabulo Mashigo, Human Resources Director for Vodacom South Africa.
The 2024 bursary programme is based on the academic merit and financial needs of first, second and third year full time students who are studying or plan to study STEM fields at South African tertiary institutions.
In addition to their fees, accommodation and education materials being covered, students accepted on the programme will each receive a laptop, cellphone and workplace readiness training from Vodacom.
For its 2023 intake, Vodacom received a total of over 4000 applications, a significant increase in the applications received in 2022. In the previous financial year, a total of 100 students were awarded the bursary. Vodacom has funded a total of 900 bursars since 2014.
Vodacom is involved in preparing youth for a digital future.
The technology company’s CodeLikeaGirl programme develops coding skills for girls in high school and encourages them to pursue a career in STEM fields.
Last year, 1 500 girls were trained across Vodacom’s markets in Africa, bringing the total to more than 4 000 since the programme’s launch in 2017.
Mashigo acknowledged the divide in the STEM industry, with women and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds under-represented.
Our STEM programmes aim to address this gap and ensure no one is left behind,” Mashigo concluded.
Applications close on August 31.
– CAJ News