Denel’s top academic performers from the company’s Schools Outreach Programme (SOP), the group’s bursary scheme and the Denel Technical Academy will be celebrated at the company’s annual Top Young Achiever Awards function, in Midrand.
The Top Young Achiever Awards is a key event within the Denel Group’s Corporate Social Investment (CSI) calendar and honours young people from historically disadvantaged backgrounds who get training and financial support from the company.
The Mpumalanga province’s grade 11 top achiever, 17-year-old Silinda Manelisi, achieved a 98% pass for maths and 91% for physical science in grade 11 last year, as a direct result of the extra tuition provided by Denel through the SOP in that province.
Bursary students in various fields of engineering at South African universities collected more than 70 distinctions among themselves in the 2016 academic year.
Among the top achieving bursary beneficiaries is 22-year-old Thato Tsabone from Pampierstad in the North West and 21-year-old Milandro Mouton from Upington, who received a total of 10 and nine distinctions in their studies respectively.
“Our bursary holders were, once again, among the top achievers nationally in the fields of science, engineering and technology,” says Zwelakhe Ntshepe, acting group CEO of Denel. “We pride ourselves on Denel’s ability to invest in South Africa’s youth, particularly those from historically disadvantaged backgrounds.”
Mouton is an honour’s student in electronics and physics at the North-West University, while Tsabone is now in his third year in mechanical engineering at the University of Pretoria.
Both Tsabone and Mouton will be among the top young achievers from high schools in six provinces around the country, the Denel Technical Academy and local universities to be honoured at the function.
A total of 74 distinctions were achieved across the spectrum of engineering disciplines, including mechanical, electronic, electrical and aeronautical engineering.
The SOP extra tuition for maths, science, life sciences and English supported 450 learners in grades 10 to 12 in Mpumalanga, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, the North West, Eastern Cape and Gauteng last year.
Learners who participate in the programmes can add an extra 65 learning days to their school calendar.
Among the guests who will attend this event will be the principal of one of the beneficiary schools, Vaal Reefs Technical High School, at Orkney, in the North West, Nontsha Liwane-Mazengwe, who will also deliver the keynote address at the event. The school has been with the Denel SOP since its inception 12 years ago.
“Denel strongly supports our national goals as a country to improve educational outcomes in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” says Ntshepe.
“Our aim is to contribute to the holistic education and development of young people from high school, through to universities, in the workplace through internships and up to the point where they can be employed at Denel or other hi-tech companies.”
Apprentices who attend the Denel Technical Academy in Kempton Park will also be honoured at the awards function. The academy offers tertiary training to over 400 students who then continue to gain practical experience in industry before returning to Denel to qualify as apprentices.