30 Oct 20 News Communities South Africa

Bursary roadshow opens pathway to higher education

Grade 12 pupils visit the mobile community support unit to apply for university place funding from Loeriesfontein and Khobab wind farms

Bright school pupils in a Northern Cape community have been applying for support from their local wind farms that would allow them take up a dream place at university.

Over the past fortnight, Grade 12 learners at Loeriesfontein High School – many from disadvantaged households – have visited a mobile community support unit at the town’s sports field to register their interest for a third-level bursary.

Local high school student Leandre Opperman completes her bursary application form

The scheme, which launched in 2018 and is funded by the nearby Loeriesfontein and Khobab wind farms, is currently helping 11 students from the area through their higher education courses. 

While its long-term objective is to encourage more pupils to continue their studies in STEM subjects, such as engineering, accounting and the sciences, applicants for 2021 funding will be considered regardless of the course they hope to pursue at university or technical college.

One them, Anna Pieters, is now in her third year of her B.Ed Foundation Phase studies at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and has previously told how her bursary selection has "really had a positive impact on my life".

She said: "Without access to this funding I wouldn’t be able to study at all or achieve my life goals. The bursary is paving the way to bigger and better things and motivates me to work even harder."

Bursary scheme is helping CPUT student Anna Pieters to "achieve my life goals"

Vanessa Fredericks, Mainstream’s Economic Development Manager for Khobab Wind Farm, explained that the bursary requirements will allow as many bright young minds in the local community to be considered as possible.

She said: "The student needs to be a resident of Loeriesfontein, they need to have matriculated well enough to qualify for acceptance into a college or university, the joint family income needs to meet a set threshold; and in balancing demand versus budget the allocations will always be made on academic merit."

Leandre Opperman, of rural development partner Angels Resource Centres, has also been advising potential mature students about their further study options at the roadshow.

  • Sister projects Khobab and Loeriesfontein wind farms were developed, constructed and are now operated by Mainstream for our Africa Joint Venture, Lekela Power. With a generation capacity of 140 megawatts each, they have been powering the equivalent of 240,000 South African households since entering operation in December 2017.