Talented Matie student, Nhlakanipho Mkhize’s dreams of completing his B.Com. (Actuarial Science) degree is now a reality, thanks to the newly-launched Alexander Forbes Group Chief Executive’s Bursary Scheme.
This bursary scheme, launched recently at Stellenbosch University (SU), supports the higher educational attainment of top performing and disadvantaged undergraduate students from their second year of study, by funding their completion of business and finance-related degrees.
The bursary covers tuition, textbooks and living expenses and gives the recipient an opportunity to also participate in Alexander Forbes’ internship programme, have access to a mentor from a pool of senior managers, participate in vacation work and have access to the Office of the Group Chief Executive.
Alexander Forbes has been a long-standing partner of SU, having been a donor for many years, and having supported a number of Matie students. This new bursary is also over and above the company’s existing bursary programme, which benefits 41 students annually.
The Alexander Forbes’ Group Chief Executive Bursary Programme will initially benefit bursary students in second and third year to be selected from the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, University of the Witwatersrand and Nelson Mandela University, says Thabo Mashaba, Alexander Forbes Group Chief Empowerment and Transformation Officer.
The bursary scheme is specifically for students who are from households with a combined annual income not exceeding R600 000. This is the maximum income threshold set by the government when it announced the implementation of free tertiary education. Mashaba says applications for the bursaries will be handled by the universities who will then forward the short-listed students to Alexander Forbes to interview and select the successful recipients.
Andrew Darfoor, the Group Chief Executive of Alexander Forbes, says the company is happy to be contributing to skills development as well as creating employment for graduates.
“Not only does South Africa face an unemployment problem but also has a shortage of specific skills required in the financial services sector in general, and the pensions and retirement sector in particular. To this end, we believe that the Alexander Forbes’ Group Chief Executive Bursary Programme will contribute to skills development while easing the unemployment problem, especially of graduates,” Darfoor says.
Speaking at the launch event, Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of SU, thanked Alexander Forbes for their investment in the future. “For that is what investing in education is… an investment in a better tomorrow. As Benjamin Franklin put it, ‘An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest’.”
According to Prof De Villiers a great number of young South Africans need a hand up, and even those who receive state funding will still need additional support – not only monetary but also assistance in other ways. “That is why I am particularly pleased that the Alexander Forbes Group Chief Executive Bursary covers not only tuition, textbooks and living expenses, but will also enrol recipients in an internship programme. And give them access to a mentor, and vacation work and access to the Office of the Group Chief Executive.
“That’s the way to do it – to go on a journey with students – to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk,” he added.
For bursary recipient Nhlakanipho, being the first recipient feels great, but it also puts extra pressure on him. However, he is up for the challenge and ready to push himself to grow and succeed. “This bursary will essentially keep me on my toes to perform academically and push me to always work hard.”
Nhlakanipho, who hails from KZN, said coming to Stellenbosch to study at Maties, has been a great opportunity to discover himself – away from family and familiar surroundings.
He is also looking forward to his internship at Alexander Forbes, to learn more about the business, to become a successful investment actuary and ultimately make a better life for his family. “They have done so much to keep me here, and making their lives easier would be my way of thanking them for their sacrifices.”
Photo: Mr Thabo Mashaba, Nhlakanipho Mkhize and Prof Wim de Villiers.
Source Stellenbosch University