Minister hopes to expand build environment bursary programme

Friday, January 27, 2023

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille says she will lobby for more money for her department’s bursary programme so more learners can continue their studies in the field of the built environment.

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure’s bursary programme forms part of the Skills Pipeline Programme where pupils are encouraged at high school level to start considering careers in the built environment.

The bursaries are awarded to pupils in need of financial assistance, who display excellence and have been accepted for courses in the built environment for their tertiary education.

Speaking at the bursary award-giving ceremony in Pretoria on Thursday, de Lille congratulated the 2022 matric class on the achievement of completing their school career.

“This time of the year comes after a long period of hard work and sacrifices for our recently matriculated pupils who are still celebrating their excellent matric results,” de Lille said.

She told the learners that the last three years at school were challenging with the added factor of COVID-19, but today they can be proud of themselves because they have reached a big milestone.

“Your education is one of the most important investments you can make in yourself to secure your future and be part of building our beautiful country.

“You are here today because government has made an investment as you are receiving a bursary to study for a degree in a built environment course and I want to encourage you to grab this opportunity with both hands,” de Lille said.

De Lille encouraged the bursary recipients to continue to work hard in their tertiary education so that they can become a successful part of the country.

“As the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) we are proud that we can make this investment into the lives of our young people and future leaders. There is a lot of work to be done in our country and we need more skills in our country and we are starting with this investment in our young people.”

The DPWI bursary programme has benefitted 452 students since 2014 and, including the recent 72, the number will now total 524 beneficiaries.

The total value of the bursaries awarded this year is estimated at R165 000 per student per year.

Director-General in the Presidency Phindile Baleni, speaking at the event, said more female students should be given the opportunity to be involved in the built environment.

“I would like to see more females becoming the recipients of these bursaries and getting involved in the previously male dominated fields,” she said.

Of the total number of this year’s bursary recipients, 42 are females.

Bursary recipient, Aphiwe Ngwani (17) from Zwelenko High in KwaZulu-Natal, told SAnews she is proud to be one of the bursary recipients.

She obtained a Bachelor with three distinctions in English, Life Orientation and in IsiZulu.

When asked how she managed to achieve such excellent results, she said it was all due to hard work.

“I worked hard throughout the year. I wanted to see myself becoming an engineer,” she said.

Ngwani thanked the department for the opportunity, saying without the bursary she would not be able to further her studies. She has been accepted at the University of Johannesburg to study Civil Engineering.

She encouraged other learners to consistently work hard in their studies. “Working hard is the only key to achieving your dreams,” she said.

As part of building a capable and ethical state, the DPWI annually awards bursaries to pupils in need of financial assistance.

The programme further aims to increase the number of built environment professionals from previously disadvantaged groups to represent the demographics of the country and ensure transformation of the built environment sector.

The programme serves as a feeder to the department’s Internship and Young Professionals Programme and later forms a pool of qualified built environment professionals to serve the state in the delivery of infrastructure projects. –