“STEM is critical to our sustainable development as a country and a continent, but we are still facing challenges in developing a pipeline of talent that has the relevant skills needed now and into the future. 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,” says 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 fulltime 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.
As part of Vodacom’s commitment to 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.
“As we strive to empower youth with digital skills, we must acknowledge that there lies a 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,” concludes Mashigo.
To apply for the STEM merit bursary, click here. Applications close on 31 August 2023