The Globeleq Scholarship Fund (GSF) 2023 academic year has opened and is available to students living within a 50km radius of Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, in the Kouga Municipal area, part of the Sarah Baartman District Municipality. The GSF, funded by Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, directly benefits students from the communities of Humansdorp, Hankey, Patensie, Thornhill and Jeffreys Bay.
Having launched eight years ago, when the sector was in its nascency, the fund has already supported over 370 students, with bursaries valued at over R20 million in total. Hence, this tertiary education funding vehicle is activity contributing towards the country’s transformation agenda, the Just Energy Transition, and the industry’s drive for gender diversity.
“This education fund delivers on a number of agendas, by supporting 100% black youth and mostly women beneficiaries, as we continue to set an ambitious target not only for the renewable energy industry but for other sectors who are striving to support our country’s developmental agenda,” said Hlengiwe Radebe, Economic Development Director for Globeleq South Africa Management services and Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm.
The GSF accounts for a sizeable percentage of the renewable energy industry’s funded scholarships and reaches across the country and is open nationally for any national diplomas or BTech degrees in mechatronic or electrical engineering, in addition to select provincial categories, designed to benefit specific communities that fall within the renewable energy map.
The GSF Communities fund is open to students who are studying any course; however, these students must reside within a 50km radius of Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm.
As part of Jeffreys Bay Wind Farms Socio-Economic Development Programme, the GSF Scarce Skills fund aims to develop skills that will most benefit and help develop the Eastern Cape Province overall for students wishing to pursue degrees or certificates in education, agriculture or nursing.
“We are hoping that young people take up the opportunity to study further, which will ultimately impact their communities, as tertiary education can effectively increase the local skills pool,” added Radebe.
Additionally, the GSF offers an Engineering fund that is designed to support the renewable energy sector and ensure a pipeline of qualified talent. It is offered nationally through institutions offering, and to students studying mechatronic or electrical engineering.
“The Globeleq Scholarship Fund has expanded its wings and grown as we have increased our operational footprint, since its inception in 2014. The programme has given opportunities to students from all nine provinces of the country, because many engineering students were not from communities that are within the areas where our power plants are based, but from other provinces, such as KZN. The support given to the students will continue to bring hope to students who are unable to pay for and further their studies,” said Radebe.
The GSF utilises a less conventional and holistic approach to funding, by typically not only focusing on academic achievement, but rather on financial need, location of the students and gender to demonstrate its commitment to increase the cache of women engineers in the country and to the sector.
The GSF also offers an internship programme, launched in 2015, to allow for beneficiaries to gain the necessary sector work experience. Specifically, the opportunity for national diploma students to complete their required in-service training and thereby help fill the technical skills gap within the renewable energy industry. To date, the programme has spent over R17 million, with a total of 74 interns employed.
“We are incredibly pleased that 80% of former interns have found work within the renewable energy industry, or are furthering their studies,” concluded Radebe.
Bursary beneficiaries receive tuition fees, travel and accommodation costs, book allowances and even a stipend. The closing date for applications is 31 October 2022 and is available for degrees, certificates or TVET college courses.