Sesona Mjuleni, who received a scholarship in 2018 from Cookhouse Wind Farm, is now a second year student at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, studying towards a National Diploma in Maritime Studies (Navigation). She recently attended a workshop in Johannesburg, with fellow scholarship recipients, to prepare for the next stage of her career.
“Studying equips you with the theoretical side of whatever job you will be doing, it doesn’t prepare you for how the workplace will affect you emotionally and mentally or how you should conduct yourself because the workplace is a different environment with different types of people,” said Sesona, who comes from Somerset East, in the Eastern Cape.
She is one of twelve scholarship recipients from REISA Solar Farm, Umoya Energy Wind Farm and Cookhouse Wind Farm that spent part of their winter term holiday attending programmes that are designed to equip students with necessary skills required for them to be successful students and to address real-life problems in a collaborative way and prepare for the so-called 21st century learning.
“The gap between leaving school, successfully completing a degree and entering the workspace is enormous and can sometimes be overwhelming, especially for youth coming from small towns and rural areas,” explained Elton Gordon, Community Operations Manager for Cookhouse Wind Farm.
There are different programmes for the various academic years, dealing with fundamental skills needed for success in studies and life. In addition to this, the workshop is tailored to fill skills gaps for different faculties of studies, such as a first-year programme for Engineering and Science students that deals with Threshold Concepts in Maths, Science and Technology.
Sesona expressed the value of the workshop, specifically the value of being given skills to cope with change, “I believe it’s very important to get help in bridging the gap between studying and working so that you don’t struggle with the transition from being a student into an independent working individual.”
The programme for final year, Honours and post-graduate students is devoted to the two main requirements of work readiness – emotional intelligence and thinking agility.
“For many young people, being awarded a scholarship is often the only option available for after-school education. However, we like to support our learners with more than just financial assistance as it is often life skills and emotional integration that lead to unnecessary stress and dropouts,” added Gordon.
The overall focus of all programmes is on preparation for the 21st century learning, namely Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity (Innovation). For these reasons the workshop’s main programme is interspersed with shorter workshops on Life, Learning, Innovation and Thinking Strategies that incorporates experts and practitioners to share their wisdom.
The workshops were run by Study Trust, an educational Trust that helps young people to access tertiary education, acquire professional skills and gain employment. Their programmes complement students’ technical and academic skills, preparing them for meaningful employment and to become active contributors to the economy.
The Cookhouse Wind Farm Scholarship Programme was launched four years ago with the aim to provide tertiary education funding for youth. The focus is to contribute towards human resource development in fields considered critical for the South African economy.
2nd Floor, Fernwood House, The Oval, 1 Oakdale Road, Newlands, Cape Town, 7700
P O Box 23101, Claremont, 7735
Tel: +27 21 670 1400 (main switchboard)
Cookhouse Wind Farm Local Community Office:
12 Main Road, Cookhouse, 5820
Tel: +27 42 247 2961