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Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A place in the sun

Mr Darrin Arendse, (left) VP: Human Capital PetroSA congratulates one of the academically deserving students who will receive a full bursary from the company.

In an historic collaboration between CPUT and PetroSA, fifteen academically-deserving students with a range of disabilities have been offered full bursaries and guaranteed work contracts on the successful completion of their studies.

Darrin Arendse, Vice President of Human Capital at the national oil and gas company, is confident that this will promote a more diverse and inclusive university. Speaking at the launch of the Bursary Partnership last week, Arendse dubbed the initiative “a landmark agreement” which would help build an institution, workplace and country where everyone has a place in the sun.

His sentiments were echoed by Vice Chancellor Mazwi-Tanga, who emphasized that the partnership gives true meaning to equal opportunity. “No potential should be left undeveloped, and the fact that students from the engineering, IT and other scarce skills disciplines were selected makes this doubly important. “

The Vice Chancellor also acknowledged Dr Nina du Toit’s role, not only in this partnership, but for her ground-breaking work in leading CPUT’s fledgling Disability Unit.

“I suspect we are the envy of our partner universities. Through the unit’s sterling work, we can boast that we truly strive to give our students, both able-bodied and disabled, real access to education”

Dr du Toit’s seminal role and influence was further acknowledged by the students’ themselves. Calling du Toit “a mother, mentor and angel all in one”, they also agree that the unit is like a second home to many of them. Students with a range of disabilities – from dyslexia, stuttering, epilepsy , visual and hearing impairment, to impaired mobility, quad and paraplegics are all catered for here.

In conjunction with these critical services offered by the unit, Arendse reiterated PetroSA’s commitment to the Bursary Partnership.

“In our fast-paced society characterised by the pursuit of convenience, it’s easy to ignore the challenges and difficulties faced by disabled people. But our own mindsets can be the biggest disability, by closing ourselves off to the possibilities that a diverse world offers. This collaboration is another example of how we are proudly shattering that tired paradigm, and making real inroads to a more inclusive society for all.”

By: Jan Weintrob

Written by CPUT News

Email: news@cput.ac.za