As South Africa’s largest producer of electricity, Eskom offers a comprehensive bursary program that provides educational opportunities in related fields.
This act, as mandated by the government at the time, was drafted by the Electricity Control Board in an effort to consolidate the different functional divisions of the relatively new and underdeveloped general electricity supply within the country, which until that time had been managed separately.
By doing so, the board aimed to extend the country’s electricity supply to more users and make it easier to regulate. This act allowed the Board to appoint Hendrik Johannes van der Bijl as its Chairman. The Eskom we know today originally went by the name of the Electricity Supply Commission (or ESC for short), as well as its Afrikaans title, the Elektrisiteitsvoorsieningskommissie (EVKOM). In 1986, the two acronyms were combined to create the current name of Eskom.
Eskom Bursary Program Overview
A large part of Eskom’s vision in maintaining such a bursary program is to fill an increasingly present need for skilled workers in a variety of fields related to the industrial, commercial, and mining sectors. By providing increased opportunities for students to gain training and develop their skills in these fields, Eskom aims to provide a sustainable workforce in these areas for the years to come. Upon successful completion of their studies, bursary recipients are required to work for Eskom for a period equal to the term of their bursary, enabling them to give back to the company while also providing further opportunities for skills development and experience in their chosen fields. Many such candidates naturally go on to become permanent Eskom employees.
In addition to fulfilling Eskom’s own need as a company for a workforce and ensuring that the industry as a whole is sufficiently staffed, there is a higher objective to Eskom’s bursary program in the way of providing the South African youth with opportunities for empowerment, increased productivity, an improved lifestyle, and the ability to give back to their communities. In an economic environment where many talented individuals are prevented from following their intended career or educational paths simply due to financial constraints, Eskom bursaries offer a way around this widespread problem.
Eskom’s bursary program also stands out from many others in that it offers opportunities for study not only at universities, but also technical colleges and FET (Further Education and Training) institutions, creating even more opportunities for tertiary education in South Africa. In addition, Eskom offers scholarships to many of its employees’ children and/or dependents, laying the foundations for future opportunities.
As one of the country’s largest companies, Eskom bursary packages are accordingly generous. For the majority of bursaries, fees involved in tuition, registration, and other administration are covered in full. A contribution to residence or accommodation fees, usually calculated at an average rate for the tertiary institution in question, is also provided, as are allowances for meals and books.
In many cases, further money is allocated towards providing a personal computer or laptop for the bursary recipient for the purposes of completing coursework, in addition to any stationery or equipment that may be required. Finally, many bursary packages also provide a stipend for day-to-day living costs, as well as vacation allowances. Even Eskom scholarships cover most of the above allowances.
The above benefits illustrate just how comprehensive Eskom bursaries can be, and highlight their potential for creating educational opportunities for a wide range of South Africans. They also provide a clear reason for the bursary program’s popularity nationwide, as well as the stiff competition involved.
Eskom offers bursaries in a variety of fields involved in the electricity sector and related industries. At university level, these include civil engineering, electrical engineering, electronic engineering, environmental sciences, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, accounting, supply chain management, information technology, computer engineering, metallurgical engineering, chemical, engineering, and nuclear engineering.
Qualifications covered at technical institutions include electrical engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, metallurgy, safety and risk management, and environmental science.
At FET colleges, bursaries are offered for prospective the boiler makers, control and instrumentation technicians, electricians, fitters and turners, mechanics, millwrights, welders, plumbers, bricklayers, carpenters, and power plant operators.
The application process for Eskom bursaries is fairly straightforward. Applications should preferably be submitted online, using the portal on the Eskom website. For those without internet access, application forms may be obtained from the nearest Eskom office, and submitted to the same location either by hand or by post.
Application forms should be filled out completely and accompanied by the necessary supporting documents as stated on the form, which include a certified copy of the applicant’s ID document as well as any necessary matric certificates or existing university transcripts. The closing date for applications is 31 July of each year.
Shortlisted candidates will be notified both telephonically and in writing, and will be asked to attend a selection interview between August and October. A medical examination may also be necessary.
Successful applicants will then be notified between October and December of the same year, and provided with comprehensive documentation regarding the terms and benefits of their bursary, as well as a contract to be signed and returned to Eskom.