Corporate bursaries are offered by some companies, primarily with the objectives of attracting and upskilling talent to their organizations and investing in youth development, all of which can improve their overall B-BBEE score.  Some organizations that offer bursaries require their recipients to complete a practical work training component upon graduation. These are usually in the form of an internship, learnership or graduate program (see blog post Internships vs Graduate Program). In these organizations, the bursaries serve as a pipeline of talent for prospective employment.

A strong academic record is essential for those hoping to be awarded a corporate bursary. In addition, having evidence of extracurricular achievements – particularly in relation to your field of interest – is advantageous. It is therefore imperative to have an academic plan during your secondary school studies to ensure you are adequately prepared to be an eligible candidate for this very competitive applicant environment ( see our blog post Career Tests for Guidance on What you Should Study).

These bursaries offer benefits to the funder and the beneficiary. Students receive financial support for their tuition and living costs (depending on the type of bursary) for the duration of their academic program and may have guaranteed employment upon graduation, access to industry-relevant work experience and professional growth potential. The company gains access to new employee talent with whom they have built a relationship over a number of years and whose training aligns with their business requirements. 

As a bursary recipient, you should learn about the company offering the bursary, their area of specialty and market, their values, vision and mission, and the expectations of the work program you will be joining. This will prepare you to arrive with your best attitude and ability once the service component of the bursary is in effect. As corporate environments are highly competitive, it is important during the bursary application process as well as the work service period to show your capacity to bring sustainable value to the company.

How does it work?

You will need to register and complete a bursary application profile on our online application platform to furnish the company with the required information and provide supporting documents such as your ID, full academic record, provisional/conditional acceptance letter or proof of registration and statement of account for the accredited tertiary institution and field of study you are enrolled for. You may also be required to write a letter of motivation to introduce yourself and showcase why you are a suitable bursary candidate. Should your application be successful you will need to sign a bursary contract to acknowledge the terms and conditions of the funding, including academic performance and work service upon graduation before your funding is activated.

Note: Not all bursaries contain guaranteed work opportunities, which are contingent upon the availability of programs in the funding organization. Where there is a service commitment a review process is usually stipulated. This means that should you not fulfill the obligations outlined in the bursary contract, you will be obliged to repay the funding, often with interest or administration costs added.

As you are entering into a contract with a company when you accept a corporate bursary, you must carefully assess your legal obligations stipulated in the agreement. Throughout the contract term you must ensure that you are fulfilling the requirements as any default will leave you open to legal action and may have serious financial consequences.

Qualifying and applying for the bursary

Each bursary usually has a specific set of requirements in order to qualify such as: academic performance e.g. 70% Overall Grade Point Average (GPA); household income threshold e.g., Annual Household Income less than R600 000; studying within a specific industry or discipline like the Anglo American (i.e., Kumba Iron Ore Bursary, Thungela Resources Bursary) corporate bursaries requires one to be studying towards a mining  related discipline.

Note: Please consider the following about the corporate bursaries we administer at Career Wise:

  • They are only available to South African citizens and permanent residents, unless stated otherwise.
  • They are intended for study programmes at South African public (visit the Universities South Africa (USAf) website to see full list 26 public of institutions).
  • They are only provided for undergraduate
  • Successful recipients are required to sign a contract which outlines all the obligations post-graduation of the sponsored qualification.