Rotary offers apprenticeship to needy student

Keith and Alison Bull of the Rotary Club of Hout Bay.

The Rotary Club of Hout Bay’s bursary programme is offering a trade apprenticeship to a determined candidate this year.

The programme helps 14 cash-strapped school-leavers in Hout Bay to pursue tertiary study, while a further six will be added this year.

In his five years as the club’s director of vocational services, Keith Bull has helped many students get degrees, many of whom have also overcome extreme socio-economic challenges to make it in the corporate world.

Former Hout Bay High School pupil Ncedo Jako is one of the bursary scheme’s shining lights, having qualified as a radiographer. He was recently taken on by well-known Cape Town radiologists Mortons & Partners. Participants have also benefitted from a number of overseas exchange programmes.

However, Mr Bull and wife, Alison, an active Rotarian in London, believe there is also a need to help future plumbers, carpenters and electricians.

“The (South African) education system is a bit of an issue.

“People in the townships or informal settlements are taught to live their dreams, but the education system is not preparing them adequately for the so-called professional fields, such as accountancy or the medical field.

“What we are wanting to do is tailor-make the aspirations of students to their academic abilities,” Mr Bull said.

“At the moment, there is a sense that you can go into university, get a degree and come out and set up your own business.

“But the reality is different, as it is difficult to start your own professional practice. Instead you would have to get work at a large corporate entity.”

It was far more feasible, he said, for a person to learn “hands-on” skills as part of a trade apprenticeship.

“Once these have been learnt, it is far easier to set up a business which provides people with valuable services.”

So, this year, the Rotary Club of Hout Bay will be offering a bursary for one individual to be trained as an artisan, either being taken on as an apprentice or learning a trade at an institution, such as False Bay College.

“We are looking for someone who has the determination to succeed. A personal mentor will be provided by Rotary to help this candidate in their bursary year,” Ms Bull said.

“The candidate must be someone who is struggling financially but has the drive to want to learn a trade. We would like anyone interested in taking up this opportunity to contact us as soon as possible.”

Mr Bull can be contacted at 082 328 6823 or email keithbull007@yahoo.co.uk.