PS Connect co-founders Thabiso Ramadiba and Nathan Dube are on a mission this year to assist about 100 000 learners from across the country get access to tertiary education and funding. Image: Supplied.
JOHANNESBURG - Two Edu-Tech entrepreneurs are on a mission to help 100 000 learners across the country access tertiary education through their online career research company PS Connect.

CEO Thabiso Ramadiba and COO Nathan Dube co-founded the company eight years ago after graduating from university.

Ramadiba, 32, holds a BSc honours degree in information technology from the University of Greenwich, while Dube, 29, holds a BSc in computer science from Heriot-Watt University.

PS Connect assists thousands of learners across the country to choose their career paths, the institutions they would like to study at, and also helps them get funding for their studies.

The businessmen say one of their highlights, among others, was assisting about 10,000 pupils nationally to make 20 000 applications to institutions of higher learning, and of the 10,000 pupils, five thousand received funding through bursaries and learnerships.

They partnered with about 1000 schools in the Gauteng province alone last year. “This year we will be visiting all schools in all the nine provinces,” said Ramadiba.

He says the company was borne of the fact that, due to a lack of information at their disposal, they struggled to choose careers at university. 

The duo say they are busy throughout the year, with January being their busiest month due to the “January hype” where those who’d passed matric panicked over their next career move.

Dube says there is no blanket approach in assisting the learners, explaining: “They create their online platforms and take a career test in order to determine which careers they can possibly pursue.” PS Connect’s business model focuses on three segments including scarce skills alert, whereby they expose opportunities within the career market “where specific scarce skills trend and are needed in high demand within an industry”. 

Ramadiba and Dube are not shy to express their views about developments taking place in the country, with the former saying he supports calls for free, quality higher education.

“I’m fully behind that. We need to be liberated and education is one vital organ that will liberate us. Education fees are high and increase yearly, so what happens then to the middle and low income households? Eventually, education becomes something that they can’t attain, and that’s not ideal,” says Ramadiba.

Tabling the national budget for 2018 in Parliament on Wednesday, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba announced that an additional amount of R57 billion has been allocated to the Department of Higher Education and Training to provide free university education.

During the recent State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa said starting this year, free higher education and training will be available to first year students from households with a gross combined annual income of up to R350,000.

Ramadiba says starting and running the business in the past six years has not been easy. “We had to do whatever was needed for us to sustain this vision and in the seventh year we got someone to assist us,” he said, adding that any help from government would help them to help those who really need their help.