Barloworld invests in students with potential to grow scarce skills in SA01 April 2016
Access to education remains topical in South Africa amid the prevailing strained conditions facing the country’s tertiary education sector.
It has become clear that the discussion needs to involve business as the reality of rising university fees continues to be a thorn in the side of aspiring students. Barloworld, a distributor of leading global brands, has adopted a collaborative approach as the company believes that no academically worthy young South African should be denied the opportunity to study at higher education level because of a lack of financing.
A key objective for Barloworld is to ensure that the cycle of poverty is broken for those affected, and that families are uplifted through support.
“For a company like Barloworld, It is critical for the sustainability of our business to build a globally competitive national skills base to enable economic and human development in South Africa,” said Jennifer Smith, head of Barloworld’s CSI and Stakeholder Management.
She added that it was this ideal that was behind the company’s partnership with the Rural Education Access Programme (REAP), an organisation committed to granting bursaries to hundreds of rural young people from low income families, enabling them to enter universities all over South Africa.
REAP Director,Russell Davies, said the support from Barloworld was vital for the organisation’s sustainability and because the terms of support were consistent, ongoing and non-specified, the money could be used for some of the most basic and low profile needs.
“We don’t ring fence our funding because it seems unnecessary when it is intended to build capacity within civil society and to help with development,” explains Smith.
However, REAP is not just about financing study costs for needy students. The programme offers a comprehensive support structure that sees students receiving the backing they need as they adapt to cope with unfamiliar issues such as a change in language, budgeting, technology and everything else that goes with a transition from a simple rural life to being away from home in an unfamiliar environment and studying at tertiary level.
Read more about other Barloworld education programmes here