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20 March 2013
Dell equips students with the right tools for the job

Three young first year students from the University of the Western Cape (UWC) are starting their studies on the right foot, after each received a state-of-the-art Dell laptop in a handover ceremony in the Rector’s Dining Room on 20 March 2013

For several years, customised computer technology company Dell South Africa has run a bursary programme with UWC, where a bursary from the Dell Development Fund is used to cover the tuition fees and campus residential fees of a few exceptional students, and also to provide a monthly stipend. Dell has also provided state-of-the art laptop computers to their bursary recipients. This year, those exceptional students are BCom (Business Admin) student Alton Fennie and BSc (Comp Sci) students Shuaib Solomons and Siyabulela Ngcizela.

Ncedikaya Magopeni, UWC’s Vice-Rector: Student Development, spoke at the handover. “The partnership between Dell and UWC spans some time now, and the investment to UWC is quite important. Even though education is about private gains, there's a connection between what we do and the benefits to society as well. These laptops will enable students to work at their convenience, and we appreciate that there’s a pipeline for students coming out of UWC.”

Magopeni also had a message for the students themselves: “We want to make sure that relationship does not end just because you've graduated. You are ambassadors for UWC – it's up to you to show them what the University can produce.”

The Dell bursaries also come with an offer of a one year internship at Dell. Many DELL bursary students graduated in UWC's March 2013 graduation ceremonies, and some have been made permanent employees of Dell.

Dell Account Executive Marc Layne, whose own assistant at Dell came through the UWC/Dell bursary programme four years ago (“He's working very well”), also spoke at the handover. “We view this as a long-term relationship, and we value what the University does for our bursary holders. And the students must do their bit, too. We provide the money, but it's up to the students to do all the hard work,” said Layne.

All three students expressed heartfelt gratitude for Dell's investment in their future – and especially for the laptops

“I feel much more confident in my lectures with my new laptop. It will help me tremendously with assignments, with checking my email account, and with downloading necessary documents from the University's website,” said Alton, who hails from Ruyterwacht and graduated from J.G. Meiring High School in 2011. He was part of the Premier's Advancement Youth (PAY) Project in 2012, working for the Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

Shuaib lives in Mitchells Plain, but attended Lansdowne Groenvlei High some distance away as a family tradition (his three older brothers also attended the school, and his younger sister is currently doing so). Receiving his laptop, he noted: “This will definitely improve many things for me at campus, and help me attain my dreams – one of which would be travelling the world as part of my job once I've obtained my Honours degree.”