Industrial Development Corporation Bursaries

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SA’s state-owned development corporation offers bursaries for students interested in qualifying in Engineering and Commerce disciplines.

The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is a wholly government-owned enterprise that was established in 1940 by the South African parliament, at the recommendation of Dr. Hendrik van der Bijl and Dr. Jan van Eck – two industrialists who had been involved in the development of Eskom and Iscor respectively. Historically, the mandate of the IDC was to develop local manufacturing capabilities in the face of trade disruptions between South Africa and Europe during World War 2. These activities were pursued with the purpose of industrialising the economy, and reducing South Africa’s reliance on exports.

One of the early endeavours of the IDC was to fund the expansion of the textile industry in the Eastern Cape. Following the end of the war, the IDC was used as the government funding agency for large-scale development projects such as Sasol and the Phosphate Development Corporation (Foskor). By the end of the 1950s, the IDC entered into a funding agreement with the USA’s States Marine Corporation to establish Safmarine with the goal of establishing a South African merchant fleet that would manage the country’s bulk exports. Safmarine became wholly owned by the SA government in 1960.

The 1980s saw large-scale disinvestment from South Africa as international sanctions intensified. In spite of this, the IDC funded even more projects in the country than in previous decades and established the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC), which would independently oversee the IDC’s growing small business portfolio.

When international isolation lifted in the 1990s, IDC expanded its investments to Mozambique with the establishment of the Mozal aluminium smelter in partnership with BHP Billiton, and also partnered with Anglo American, De Beers, and Mondi on forestry initiatives. Since then, the IDC has invested further in the telecommunications, agriculture, and mining industries in other African countries.

In the past 20 years, the IDC has made a contribution to many projects in various industries, including being a funding partner in the production of Tsotsi, the first South African film to win an Oscar; and investing in the development of the Joule – the first electric car to be built in South Africa.

IDC Bursary Program Overview

The IDC bursary scheme selects talented students who need financial support to fund access higher education. The bursaries offered correspond with the skills needed by the corporation.

The scheme provides funding to South African citizens, who plan to, or are already enrolled to study for an undergraduate degree at a recognised public university, university of technology, or TVET college. Applicants must be registered for full-time study.

Students who are currently in Matric should have outstanding results in Mathematics and Science, with a minimum B average, which should have been maintained from Grade 11. Students who are applying to the bursary for 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year will be assessed on the strength of their Matric results and should have also passed all their tertiary courses with a minimum C aggregate.

Students who already have a partial bursary from another sponsor may not apply to the IDC programme.

Bursary Benefits

Students who are awarded an IDC bursary will have their registration and tuition fees paid directly to their chosen institution in full. Student accommodation is also covered, whether on or off-campus, as are the costs of textbooks and meals.The bursary is renewed on a yearly basis, provided that the bursar’s academic performance remains at a high standard.

The corporation goes further to fund postgraduate studies, if these are a necessity to obtain a professional status such as becoming qualified as a Chartered Accountant.

IDC does not offer any opportunities for vacation work or experiential training to bursary recipients; however, once the candidate has qualified, they are required to work for the IDC for the same number of years for which they received bursary funding.

Qualifications Covered

IDC’s bursary programme is suitable for students in Commercial Sciences and Engineering.

Specific qualifications funded are BSc in Chemical; Mechanical; Electrical; Civil; Metallurgical; and Industrial Engineering, as well as studies in Analytical Chemistry and Geology.

Business science disciplines that are covered are BCom degrees Information Systems; Information Technology; Computer Science; Investment Management; Environmental Science; Agriculture; and Accountancy with the ultimate goal of obtaining a CA qualification.

Application Process

The application process for IDC’s bursary programme involves completing an application form which is available on the corporation’s website, or can be requested by email. In addition to personal details and certified copies of results, applicants must also answer open-ended questions about their extramural activities or societies that they are active in, as well as reasons for applying for the bursary.

Applications open from the beginning of April until the end of June each year. The completed application form must be returned to the IDC via email or fax.

Candidates who meet the requirements are shortlisted and invited for an interview. Bursary recipients are announced by October, and payment is arranged with the university once the applicant’s final results have been confirmed.

The IDC was a major driving force behind the funding of the Gautrain project

speed train

Application Due Date
30 June 2018


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