Multinational technology company Huawei South Africa has partnered with the University of Cape Town (UCT) to fund 15 students as part of the firm’s external bursary programme. The bursaries have been awarded to students in information technology (IT), and electrical and mechanical engineering. The funding covers accommodation, tuition and general living expenses. Once the students graduate, they are given a chance to work at Huawei South Africa for one year.
Mohammed Bismilla, graduate and bursary programme coordinator at Huawei South Africa, said that companies recruiting in South Africa often require work experience once students complete their studies.
“Huawei believes in investing in the youth because that is where we unlock potential. They are automatically placed into our graduate programme, which is very intense and tough to get into,” he said.
The selection criteria include drive, a willingness to succeed, passion for the IT industry and a willingness to make a positive contribution to South Africa. Students are required to maintain a 70% study aggregate. Although the bursary programme funds 47 students across the country, UCT has received the bulk of the funding.
“Huawei believes in investing in the youth because that is
where we unlock potential.”
Jacqueline Ford, senior recruitment and allocation manager for Huawei South Africa, said the company supports youth development, especially because of the high unemployment rate in the country.
“We find it extremely important to give bursaries to deserving students. We also feel that skills transfer is extremely important.
“[The financial contribution] is just under R3 million that we are currently providing to UCT. It is, thus far, our biggest contribution. Across the board we have five universities, but we found the majority of the talent at UCT,” she said.
Employment after graduation
Bursary recipient Yaseera Lockhat, a third-year UCT mechanical engineering student, said she applied when she saw the Huawei South Africa bursary offer advertised. She took a “leap of faith” and has now been afforded an “amazing” opportunity.
“The bursary contract gives you funding for a year, covering tuition fees as well as other expenses. The condition is that you have to work for them for a minimum of 12 months and [this] is subject to renewal,” she said.
“It’s really great to have a bursary that gives you employment after [graduation] because in the job market … there is very little development in South Africa and a lot of engineering companies are cutting back. So, considering that they [Huawei] are giving bursaries is amazing.
“Having them on my CV and just being able to work for them as well as the learning experience is invaluable.”
Nobi Rululu, funder liaison coordinator at UCT’s Student Financial Aid Office, said that corporate bursary partnerships are crucial as they provide more opportunities ─ through financial support ─ for undergraduate and postgraduate students.
“Huawei’s external bursary support will facilitate financial assistance for students and help widen and diversify Huawei’s talent pool. It focuses on attracting and facilitating the development of skills identified as scarce and critical in the IT fraternity.
“We truly appreciate the commitment from Huawei to capacity building and job creation for UCT students and the youth of South Africa.”
Management from Huawei attended the bursary award ceremony, which was held on Friday, 14 February, at UCT Careers Service.
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