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VBKOM Bursary Holders 2023

VBKOM prides itself on giving back to the community and on helping others to achieve success. We acknowledge the importance of fostering and nurturing talent within the mining sector, viewing it as a prime opportunity for advancing our brand. We are committed to cultivating a robust talent pipeline, not only to meet our own requirements but also to contribute to the development of exceptional professionals in our industry. We are unwavering in our dedication to raising the standards significantly.

The same principle applies when it comes to unearthing the potential of our nation's young individuals. At the beginning of 2023, VBKOM awarded a total of six scholarships to enthusiastic students pursuing degrees applicable to the mining sector. On 1 September 2023, five of the six students joined VBKOM for a Spring Day celebration.

Meet the bursary holders

  • Brian Nhlapo, studying towards an MSc in Economic Geology degree at the University of the Witwatersrand. Brian was a tuition bursary holder in 2022 as well.
  • Jack Marema Khuduwe, studying towards an MSc in Metallurgy and Materials degree at the University of the Witwatersrand. Jack was a tuition bursary holder in 2022 as well.
  • Kabelo Given Nkuna, studying towards a B.Eng Tech (Honours) degree in Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Johannesburg.
  • Melusi Tendai Ndlovu, studying towards a B.Eng Tech Physical Metallurgy degree at the University of Johannesburg.
  • Mpfuxeto Chauke, studying towards a BSc Industrial Engineering degree at the University of the Witwatersrand.
  • Tshegofatso Mantsie, studying towards a B.Eng Tech Industrial Engineering degree at the University of Johannesburg.

External Bursary Application Process

As part of VBKOM’s drive towards skills development, which is aligned to the overall business strategy, VBKOM’s Executive Team implemented a university bursary fund during 2021.

From this fund, and through an application process which involves interviews and a review of academic performance, only the most brilliant candidates from the South African Universities are selected for further approvals.

The criteria for an external bursary award include, but are not limited to:

  • The applicant must be a South African citizen
  • The applicant needs to be in their second year or above
  • The field of study for which the applicant can apply must be within the mining industry (Geology, Mining Engineering, Metallurgy, Industrial Engineering)
  • Bursaries are awarded for a single year’s tuition
  • Current bursary holders can reapply for the following year’s tuition bursary

The year 2023

For the second year in a row, VBKOM invited applications from potential bursary holders during the last quarter of 2022. A staggering number of applications were received but, after a careful selection process, six bursars were awarded a tuition bursary for 2023.

These bursary holders visited the VBKOM Head Office on 1 September 2023. The bursary holders were addressed by VBKOM’s CEO, Manie Kriel, who introduced them to VBKOM, how VBKOM started, and where VBKOM is heading. They were introduced to many of the VBKOM team during this visit. The bursary holders had the chance to showcase themselves and what they have learned so far to the VBKOM Technical Delivery Principals. The Technical Delivery team then in turn presented the services offerings to the bursary holders.

The Corporate Services team, and in particular Langanani Ilefo (Human Capital Officer), arranged the visit by the bursary holders. A Spring Day celebration was arranged for the VBKOM team and the VBKOM bursary holders. Each bursary holder received a VBKOM Bursary branded item that they can wear proudly at varsity.

The impact on the young talent

A tuition bursary can have a significant impact on a student’s life and education in several ways, ranging from financial relief to increased access to education and improved academic performance. At VBKOM, we pride ourselves on including our bursary holders in our VBKOMmunity through the way we continuously communicate and check in, as well as hosting these bursary holder’s days at our office where the students get the chance to share their stories and journies.

Jack Marema Khuduwe, who has held a tuition bursary since 2022, shared with us, “After completing my undergraduate degree in 2021, I was faced with two options: to either get a job, or to further my studies by enrolling for a master’s degree. The latter seemed out of the question because procuring funding was a nightmare. I saw a VBKOM bursary advert on LinkedIn, and by God’s grace I was awarded a bursary. VBKOM only grants bursaries to talented individuals with great potential, which meant that they saw potential in me.”

He continues by saying, “VBKOM gives us the opportunity to visit their company to have a feeling of what it’s like to be in the industry and what it’s like working for them. And that is not all, on that visit, we get to share about ourselves, career goals, and interest in working at VBKOM to a panel of the CEO and the rest of the staff which includes senior engineers, principal engineers, and project managers”.

Brian Nhlapo, also a 2-year tuition bursary holder, shared with us, “It is truly an honour and privilege to be one of VBKOM's bursars. No feeling could ever compare to the feeling of a student knowing that their tuition is fully paid for. VBKOM stands for cohesion and gives out the best experience of the consulting-industry atmosphere. I have seen this from visiting their offices and projects they undertake.”

After meeting these aspiring young individuals, the VBKOM team is excited to see their bright futures unfold.

Image: VBKOM Bursary Holders 2023 at the VBKOM Head Office in Centurion, Gauteng.

Front from left: Lalieu Marais (Corporate Services Executive), Brandon Okhuis (Senior Mining Engineer).

Middle from left: Jack Marema Khuduwe, Kabelo Given Nkuna, Tshepiso Napo (Senior Metallurgist), Langanani Ilefo (Human Capital Officer).

Back from left: Ruan de Wet (Resource Geologist), Manie Kriel (VBKOM CEO), Melusi Ndlovu, Brian Nhlapo.

Looking to the future

VBKOM is excited about the future and being a part of the growth of young talent in this country. The VBKOM bursary initiative is one that the company is very proud of, and we look forward to meeting and developing more aspiring individuals through this programme.

VBKOM’s tuition bursary initiative has proved to be very successful and, from the year 2024, the bursary will include accommodation.

VBKOM Bursary Holders 2023 video

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