This week’s Top Empowerment Masterclass, in partnership with Fundi Capital (Pty) Ltd., sheds light on issues surrounding the underpinnings of CSI Solutions – Corporate Social Investment, and companies seeing a positive ROI. Together, students and large companies make up a vital ecosystem in our nation, uplifting our economic workforce and the larger economy, as a whole – which is why it is essential that we take stock of our current environment, and understand what needs to be done in fostering human capital investments, rather than solely focusing on BEE or CSI Points. 

This Masterclass offers important insight into the relationship formed between students and companies, and will assist in understanding the fundamental relationship between bursars and bursary holders, as well. Find out how you can ensure that SA students are supplemented, whilst simultaneously reinforcing your organisation’s ROI.

Hosted by Mr Makgau Dibakwane, CEO of Fundi, and Karla Fletcher, Head of Marketing at Topco Media, the Masterclass included four other expert panelists, namely Professor Francis William Petersen, who is Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State, Professor Vivienne Lawack, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at UWC, Chantelle Oosthuizen, Executive Director at Cyril Ramaphosa Education Trust (CRET), and Luxolo Rubushe, Managing Director at Adapt IT. 

Karla introduced this week’s Masterclass by highlighting Top Empowerment’s vision – to inspire the world to do good business through these sessions. Her hope is that this platform will provide access to exceptional leaders and expertise, and assist in accelerating the growth of the South African economy. 

Polls taken during the Masterclass indicated that more than 80% of attendees are in need of solutions surrounding academic support tutoring, as well as mentorship, coaching, and monitoring and tracking students. 60% of companies indicated spending 10k-50k on student bursaries, allocating most allowances to tuition fees, books and accommodation. On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest), 89% of attendees rated the importance of the success of their bursary students as being ‘very important’. This indicates a major focus on how well bursary students fare at university and beyond, and the level of ROI incurred. 

 

Key takeaways from this Masterclass included:

 

  • In recent years, we have seen a trend in bursaries doing good and creating positive change, as more and more students get educated with the aid of bursaries. However, it’s about more than just financial assistance at this stage – students need holistic support. 
  • The bursary landscape in South Africa is made up of many challenges, opportunities, risks and trends. These all form part of our ‘bursary ecosystem’ that is in need of stronger reinforcement, as we’re faced with high student drop out rates. 
  • Trends indicate an increasing rise in desire to put in place cler metrics to measure the return onCSI and bursary investments – is financial support making a significant difference for all parties involved in the ecosystem?
  • Despite funding gaps, a bigger focus needs to be put on ‘Human Capital Investment’, rather than just CSI – we need to build human capital skills for a better future for all. 
  • For every 100 students, only 36 pass Matrci, and only 14 of them go to university. We need to focus on student readiness – is our youth prepared for tertiary education institutions?
  • We need to recognise that student funding will not automatically equal student success. Funding and support need to equally align for real success to occur, producing educated, employable South South Africans. 
  • We need to ask the question: do we know our students? Often, education completion corresponds with an ‘achievement gap’. This depends on contextual factors such as race, culture, home environment etc. This gap will affect student success and ROI in the long run, and needs to be mended. 
  • When it comes to interventions at university, these practices should be globally researched, tried and tested.We need to look at all the factors (micro and macro) and come to a common agenda for collective impact. We need to focus on the power of collaboration between all players involved in this ecosystem – responsibility cannot merely fall onto one key player. 
  • Mental and emotional challenges have become vast. Students need support on a psychosocial level; career guidance, mentors, assistance with developing soft skills. When a student’s well-being is taken care of, so will the results. And this way graduates walk into the workforce better prepared, on a holistic level. 
  • Our youth needs to be educated on entrepreneurship – an accelerator of our economy. Entrepreneurship should be taught early on in school so that graduates know that they have options – not everyone will go to university. It’s all about having a clear plan and making good choices that are mutually beneficial, and will evidently boost our economy at large. 

 

Missed the live Masterclass? You can now watch it on demand here

 

Professor Vivienne Lawack, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at UWC, is a lawyer by training and holds a B.Juris LLB LLM (UPE)LLD (Unisa). She is an admitted Advocate of the High Court of South Africa (non- practising roll). She hails from Clarkson, a Moravian Mission station in the Tsitsikamma.

Mr Makgau Dibakwane is the newly appointed CEO of Fundi, who has served much of his time as a CFO and CEO at FNB, in many portfolios across Africa, for over 13 years.Makgau joined Fundi a year ago. He is passionate about making a tangible difference in South Africa’s education sector.

Chantelle Oosthuizen holds the position of Executive Director at Cyril Ramaphosa Education Trust (CRET). Originally from the Eastern Cape, she studied towards a BA degree at Rhodes University and was a journalist and editor for publications such as Daily Dispatch, EP Herald, The Star, Beeld, and TopCar.

Luxolo Rubushe, Managing Director at Adapt IT, is a seasoned executive with over twenty-three years’ work experience, fourteen of which have been senior executive positions in both private and public sectors. Luxolo is currently a Managing Director at Adapt IT, a Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed company in the Information and Communicatio n Technology (ICT) sector. 

Professor Francis William Petersen is the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State since 1 April 2017. Prof Petersen has extensive experience of management at various levels within the university and industry sectors. He believes in teamwork, and has played a key role in various initiatives within higher education, industry, and science councils.

 

 

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