Training: Bursaries give hope to young students

The Merseta is sponsoring 21 students to study mechatronics at university. VWSA’s training representative and Numsa shop steward, Xolani Tshayana, spoke to one of the students, Ntombekaya Jafta, on how she was chosen and asked her about her hopes for the future.

How did Numsa help you get this bursary and secure a place for you at the university?When my principal phoned me to say a Numsa shopsteward was looking for students who passed with good symbols but could not go on to tertiary level because of high fees, I didn’t take my principal seriously because of my wrong perception of Numsa. Remember my father was part of the 1300 VWSA workers dismissed in 2000. What is dominant in the community is that Numsa is the main reason for the dismissals of our parents. It was only when I met the rep from Numsa who took me with my colleagues to the University to register, that my perception about Numsa started to change.

Numsa Bursary FundDeadline for applications extended

Mbuyiselo Ngwenda Bursary Fund in Association with Numsa Investments is offering a limited number of tertiary bursaries for 2007 to deserving applicants who are dependants of Numsa members or Numsa staff. Applications are invited from aspiring students who wish to study full time at University or Technikon in the following disciplines:

B Com Accounting, Auditing and Financial Management.
BSc/B Eng: Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical, Metallurgical and Information Technology
N Diploma: Mechanical, Electrical, Metallurgical and Information Technology.

Application forms are available from the Bursary Fund Administrator, Tel: 011 7833578 or email; or download from the Numsa website or from your nearest Numsa local office.

The closing date has been extended to August 31 2006. Please note that only successful candidates will be contacted. Applicants are encouraged to apply to tertiary institutions as bursaries are only officially awarded to successful candidates who can prove acceptance at a tertiary institution. [More information, look at Numsa News No 2, May 2006]

Engineering was previously dominated by men. How does it feel to be amongst women who are breaking new ground?It’s wonderful but challenging at the same time. Engineering is not an easy thing. It puts us under pressure as female students because we have to prove ourselves to our male counterparts that we are also capable, we can do it.

Mechatronics is a new field in the automotive sector. Who is helping you as learners when you have problems with your studies?This is a serious problem. Most of the mentors are also students; they have to balance helping us with their school work. Our lectures are also assisting with some of the problems.

Part of this degree requires that you do your paid practical work with one of the auto companies during your holidays. Why did you choose VWSA?I chose VWSA because my father was working here so there is family history with VWSA. The other reason is that it has a good track record in training, with good training structures and if one is trained by VW it’s easy to get employment anywhere in South Africa.

You nearly didn’t go to university this year. This is an opportunity which comes once in a lifetime, how do you intend to use it?I intend to use this opportunity with all the strength I have because I really want to be successful and stand on higher ground. My poor family background is my main motivator. It is giving me strength to go forward.

How do you intend using your education to benefit your community and your family?The community of Uitenhage remains poor. There are many people who are not working. The majority are females. I will start by involving myself with community development projects and also make females aware of the need to take part in the engineering field.

Personally I intend saving money for my children’s education and build multi-purpose community centres so that we keep children busy and take them away from drugs and crime.

Who is the bread winner at home who is assisting you financially? My mother is the only person working at home but it’s not a good job. She gets no benefits like pension and medical aid. There is no way that with this type of money she could take me to the University. Without Numsa I would have been sitting at home doing nothing. My future would have been doomed but thank God for Numsa, now I have a brighter future. May God bless Numsa and Merseta.

Workers prove that recognition of prior learning does workThree Dunlop workers have passed their trade tests and become artisans after working as artisan aides or handymen for four years and more. Mirriam Mochochoko asked Dunlop shop steward, Vukani Mthethwa to explain how the process works.

What processes or procedures must be followed?Workers must have five years experience in the engineering field working either as handymen or artisan aides or they must have four years experience with N2 trade theory. First they are sent to accredited institutions for assessment. The assessment identifies the areas where the worker needs more training and the worker is then sent for this training.

How long does the training last?It lasts for a maximum of 10 weeks. If they are competent after this they are sent to do a trade test.

How long does the trade test preparation take?Two weeks.

What happens next?If the worker is ready to do the test, the training department must fill in the forms and send them to Merseta to book the trade test. The Merseta will identify the institution and give the learner the date of the test.

How long does the trade test take?Normally two days.

If you think you have the experience to do the trade test, speak to your shop steward to find out how to go about taking it.