One of the key issues South Africa faces is that of ensuring adequate tertiary education for black disadvantaged students. This is a cause which closely aligns with Aurecon’s brand proposition, ‘Fostering Human Achievement.’ Aurecon has been investing in its own in-house bursary programme for over 40 years, and believes that education is crucial to the successful skills development of tomorrow’s leaders.
“President Jacob Zuma, in his February 2012 State of the Nation address, said, ‘Government alone cannot solve the challenges faced by the country, but working together, solutions are possible,’” says Albert Geldenhuys, Aurecon’s Managing Director, South Africa. He goes on to say that in line with this, the group has taken a decision to further support capacity building in South Africa, beyond its own bursary programme, by investing in the education of black disadvantaged students via sizeable donations towards the Civil Engineering departments of the University of Cape Town (UCT), the University of Stellenbosch (US) and the University of Pretoria (UP).
“Aurecon will provide this sponsorship for a period of at least five academic years in instalments of R400 000 per annum for each university, commencing with the 2012 academic year and ending with the 2016 academic year,” explains Geldenhuys.
He adds that it is the group’s hope that this commitment will contribute towards the empowering of black disadvantaged students through quality education at a reputable higher education institution. The bursaries are available to black South African Civil Engineering students who intend to continue studies to postgraduate level at their respective universities, and will cover the costs of tuition and other academic-related expenses. Beneficiaries of the fund will be chosen by a selection committee at each university.
Aurecon, a Level 2 Contributor to Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE), handed over the first cheque to the University of Stellenbosch in March this year, and is in the process of doing the same at the University of Cape Town and the University of Pretoria.
The group’s commitment to the accelerated education of black disadvantaged students began more than 35 years ago when the group awarded a bursary to a black student for the first time. Geldenhuys concludes, “It’s a pleasure and a passion for us to continue this proud tradition by ensuring that black students from disadvantaged backgrounds will be given the opportunity to study further at these prominent South African universities. In this way, they are able to acquire the skills to empower them to become independent and capable working professionals, who can then contribute towards the further development of the nation.”
*Albert Geldenhuys (left), hands over Aurecon’s donation to Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel, the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the US.