Train-maker Gibela says it is looking for eligible candidates for the 210 bursaries it is offering this year, for post-matric study in an array of engineering-related fields.
“Engineering-related skills are in short supply in South Africa, and the Covid-19 pandemic has further underlined the country’s desperate need for the kind of skills required to make meaningful headway in the 21st-century job market – literacy, numeracy, problem-solving, communication, self-management and the ability to learn continuously,” the group said.
Covid-19 has impacted economies globally, leading to job losses. As the World Bank reports, most of those who have lost work have lower skills and education levels, it said.
While the Covid-19 pandemic is temporary, the bank points out that its effect on economies has accelerated a trend towards automation, which is set to eliminate low-skill jobs.
“Gibela is doing its part to ensure South Africa meets its aim, set out in the National Development Plan, of reducing and even eliminating inequality and poverty. We believe there is no better way to do this than through education and skills training,” says Gibela’s corporate services executive, Dr Buyiswa Mncono-Liwani.
Gibela is this year offering 150 bursaries for study at technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges, and 60 for study at universities and universities of technology.
Sponsoring education and training, for staff and for the communities around Gibela’s Dunnottar, Nigel, headquarters, is part of the company’s R53-billion contract with the government, via the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), to produce 600 trains.
Each bursary is for the 2021 academic year and is renewable based on the recipient’s academic performance. Each covers full tuition and a book allowance.
To qualify for the TVET bursaries candidates must be South African citizens who have a bar-coded identity document, and be enrolled or intent on enrolling at a TVET college to study in these fields: boiler-making, electrics, mechanics, fitting and turning, milling, welding, pattern making, vehicle building, plumbing, or control and instrumentation.
Current national level three and four (N3 and N4) students are encouraged to apply.
For entry-level students, these fields of study at a TVET college require matriculation with Maths, Science and English at level four (50-59%).
The bursaries for study at a university or university of technology are also available for one year, renewable annually depending on academic performance. The fields of study covered are electrical, electronic, mechanical, metallurgical and industrial engineering; computer science and information technology; accounting; and supply chain and logistics management.
For entry-level students, matric with Maths and Physical Science at level 6 (70-79%), Accounting at level 6, if required by the chosen course, and English at level 5 (60-69%) is a prerequisite.