Nurturing Agricultural talent

January 2024.

As the 2024 school year begins, Jeandre Plaatjies from Humansdorp and Muhammed Davids from the Patensie community are embarking on their journey to realize their passion for a future career in agriculture. Supported by a dedicated local agricultural bursary programme, they are commencing Grade 8 at Marlow Agricultural High School in Cradock, located approximately 1.5 hours from their home towns.

Bernadene Plaatjies, speaking about her son Jeandre’s selection, expressed her optimism, stating, “I believe the bursary opportunity will assist my child to reach his full potential by providing financial support for his education and allowing him to access resources and opportunities that may have otherwise been out of reach. He will also have networking opportunities and professional development support, helping him to build a strong foundation for future success.”

The Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm agricultural bursary programme, launched in January 2021, is dedicated to providing financial support to promising young high-school students interested in agriculture. Since its inception, the programme has supported a total of five learners from the communities of Humansdorp, Hankey, Patensie, Thornhill, and Jeffreys Bay.

The focus of the initiative is to establish a skills pipeline and alleviate the shortage of agricultural skills in local communities through education. Additionally, it places importance on both academic excellence and sports participation, revealing noteworthy talent in rugby in 2023.

Nonini Makhothe, Economic Development Specialist at Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, highlighted the broader impact, stating, “Agriculture plays an important role in the economy of our country. Providing support to these young people means our wind farm is playing an active role in ensuring that communities receives the right calibre of young people that will one day drive the agriculture through innovative thinking.”

To qualify for the bursary, learners underwent assessments covering academic performance, interest in agriculture, adaptability to the new school environment, and sporting interests. The comprehensive bursary covers tuition, accommodation, and travel fees, supporting all five learners, until they complete their final Matric year.

At the conclusion of this third year, an evaluation of the project will be conducted, underscoring Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm’s ongoing commitment to nurturing agricultural talent in local communities.