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At the recent Presidency Budget Vote 2019/2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa highlighted the importance of giving the youth a hand-up, and called on the country to support the youth through education, training, or employment opportunities. This is in light of the fact that, according to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), more than 55% of youth aged between 15 and 24 years of age are unemployed, making them the most vulnerable group of the country, with a staggering 51% not having the finances to pay for their tuition according to the Higher Education and Skills report released earlier this year.

In light of this, one initiative that is transforming young lives is the Bursary Fund Trust, supported by Novus Holdings. The Bursary Fund Trust has, since inception in 2008, awarded more than 100 bursaries to the value of R10 million. At the end of 2018 it awarded bursaries to the value of R660 000 to eight matric learners and three students already enrolled in a tertiary institution, to help finance their tertiary education in 2019. In addition to the funding, the Trust provides support and guidance to all bursary recipients.

Bursary Trust Fund beneficiary, Ashwin Petersen, is an example of a young person whose life has been transformed by the Fund.

Petersen, a 2011 beneficiary of the Bursary Fund Trust and now a qualified Internal Auditor at KWV in Paarl, obtained his MTech: Internal Auditing from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, thanks to the bursary.

“During my studies my father was the only one who was working in our home, he had to finance and keep the household going, but the Bursary Fund Trust transformed my life and provided me with the opportunity to excel and not use my circumstance as a reason not to succeed in life.”

Since his employment at KWV, Petersen has been nominated as employee of the month for two consecutive months. Aside from being able to add value to the workplace, Petersen now invests his time in making a difference in his community.

“I now help learners to secure bursaries for their studies: I Identify suitable matric learners, consult with them about their career path, present possible tertiary institutions and bursaries and assist in the application processes.”

Petersen encourages the youth to rise above their circumstances and, once successful, go back to their community and share their success.

Ralph Ruthford, Group Executive: Human Resources Novus Holdings, is proud of all Bursary Fund Trust recipients and is pleased to see the benefits of the fund’s efforts paying off in the lives of candidates such as Ashwin.

“Ashwin is an exemplary candidate who is playing a critical role in society through his chosen profession. We will continue to make a positive, long-term impact by enabling education through the Bursary Fund Trust,” concludes Ruthford.