Xstrata Coal South Africa recently hosted a bursary recognition function in Witbank to reward and congratulate all the top students for their outstanding performances over the past year. The Xstrata Coal bursary initiative, which currently has 32 bursars in the programme, forms part of the company’s initiative to improve skills and contribute in providing opportunities to youngsters who would not have had the opportunity to go to a tertiary institution.

Thobela and Gugu Dube shared the prize of top students (bursars) for 2012. They both achieved 7 distinctions at university during the year. “I am so proud and grateful to be part of the bursar programme. It has given me the opportunity to further my studies and gain skills which otherwise wouldn’t have been possible,” says Nkele Thobela./p>

“The bursary programme provides the opportunity for young local students to go to a university or technical college and study a range of degrees including engineering, surveying and finance. Many of these students can’t afford to study after school and this initiative allows them the opportunity to further their education by providing essential financial support,” says Gugulethu Maqetuka, Manager Corporate Communication and Stakeholder Engagement for Xstrata Coal South Africa.

Coal not only gives these individuals their tuition for the entire course but also ensures that each student has accommodation, daily meals, text books, technical supplies such as laptops as well as a monthly allowance.

Once the students are qualified they are provided with two to three years of practical training at the Xstrata Coal mines where they are mentored and coached to become professionals in their fields.

“The success rate of the bursary students is phenomenal and in the majority of cases they join Xstrata Coal as full time employees. We are so proud of the success of these students and believe they will make a positive contribution to the growth of the sector and the broader South African economy when they qualify,” Says Maqetuka.





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