Sasol is encouraging young people to consider a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related fields by offering bursaries to Grade 12 pupils doing science and maths. File photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg.

As South Africa grapples with having one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world, Sasol is encouraging young people to consider a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related fields. 

Nearly four out of 10 South Africans aged 15–34 are jobless, according to Statistics SA. At the same time, many employers are struggling desperately to find those with critical skills in STEM-related fields. 

According to the Department of Labour’s list of scarce skills, the country is experiencing a major shortage of engineers and technicians across a range of disciplines, from metallurgy and mining to mechanical, electrical and civil. 

This means that young people with qualifications and skills in STEM-related fields stand a much better chance in finding employment and establishing prosperous careers due to the skills shortage in these fields. 

The Engineering Council of South Africa says the country has only one engineer for every 3,166 citizens. 

This is very low compared to one engineer per 227 people in Brazil and one per 543 people in Malaysia.

It is for this reason that Sasol, through its one of a kind corporate bursary programme, is investing in assisting the country to increase its pool of critical skills.

The bursary programme is aimed at Grade 12 learners who want to study the following:

- Mechanical engineering: This discipline is about applying engineering, physics, and materials science to make better mechanical systems.

- Electrical engineering: This is all about the science, technology and engineering behind electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. As an electrical engineer, you might work on components and systems that range from microchips to power station generators.

- Civil engineering: A civil engineer focuses on the design and maintenance of roads, bridges, dams, and other infrastructure we use every day.

- Chemical engineering:  This diverse field encompasses the science of turning raw materials and chemicals into a range of products, as well as the design and operation of plants and equipment used to make industrial chemical products.

- Mining engineering: A Mining Engineer uses science and engineering skills to extract minerals from the earth as safely and efficiently as possible.

- Industrial engineering: Industrial engineering is concerned with the optimisation of complex processes, systems, or organisations by improving and implementing integrated systems of people, money, knowledge, information, equipment, energy and materials.

- Electronic engineering: Electronics engineers analyse the requirements and costs of electrical systems. Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacturing of electrical equipment, such as electric motors, radar and navigation systems, communications systems, or power generation equipment. 

Candidates have the option to study at any university of their choice in South Africa or a university of technologies. 

To be considered, candidates much attain a 70% pass mark in Science and Maths in their final year exams and 60% in English.

In addition to paying for your studies, Sasol bursars also receive a stipend, a laptop and calculator and an opportunity to get practical work experience by being part of the Sasol Graduate Development Programme. Bursars also receive emotional support throughout their studies to enable them to deal with stress and other life events.

Applications for Sasol bursaries opened on 4 March 2019 and will close on 30 April 2019. 

To find out more about the Sasol Bursary Programme, visit www.sasolbursaries.com for information on the opportunities available and to apply.

* Monica Luwes is manager of Graduate Centre at Sasol Corporate Bursary Services