Top engineering students with bursaries from Denel that study at universities across the country were honoured at an awards function in Tshwane today. They were joined by high school learners who benefited from Denel’s enrichment programmes and achieved distinctions in maths and science in the 2014 matric exams.
Speaking at the Denel Young Achievers event, the deputy minister of public enterprises, Bulelani Magwanishe, said South Africans should value academic achievers on an equal basis with top sports people, musicians and entertainers.
He commended Denel for creating a culture in which “finding engineering solutions to bring water to rural communities are valued equally with the ability to pass a ball with pin-point precision; where the designers of next-generation aeroplanes, satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles are as well-known as pop idols; and where scientists and artisans receive the same recognition as fast bowlers and goalkeepers.”
The Group CEO of Denel, Riaz Saloojee said the company is attracting some of the brightest students in the country with bursaries for engineering studies and internships at Denel.
The company is committed to invest in the training of young engineers, scientists and artisans at tertiary level and promote the teaching of maths, science and technology among high school learners.
Denel is responsible for the teaching of enrichment classes for grades 10, 11 and 12 learners in Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Free State and the North West. Denel Dynamics has a partnership with two high schools in its vicinity, Steve Tshwete and Olievenhoutbosch, whose learners receive additional tuition in maths and science from Denel employees over weekends and during school holidays.
Both Denel Aviation and Denel Aerostructures have similar programmes in place to support schools in the vicinity of their campus in Ekurhuleni, including at the Rafedile Academy in Springs and the Etwatwa Secondary School in Benoni.
Matriculants who participated in the programme scored a combined total of 66 distinctions in physical science and maths in the 2014 year-end exams. Among the top achievers were John Nyatshamo and Lwazi Selatole from Geluksdal Secondary School in Brakpan, and Thabang Tshabalala from M.O.M Seboni High School in Nigel, who all three scored more than 90% in both subjects.
Deputy minister Magwanishe said Denel’s programmes and bursaries enable students to bridge the gap between the school environment and tertiary education. The company also provides continued support to deserving students through internships, mentoring and eventual full-time employment.