Seven university students from rural areas in the Eastern Cape have benefited from Murray & Dickson Construction’s Khula Nathi Skills Development and Socio-Economic Development Programme. This is a way in which the company is demonstrating its commitment to one of its important core values, namely Khula Nathi, which is isiZulu for “grow with us”.
The programme was launched in 2019 as a means of providing built-environment university students from impoverished communities in the Eastern Cape with an opportunity to gain practical skills and experience while working on a M&D construction project during their vacations.
Notably, M&D’s Skills Development and Socio-Economic Development Programme also supports the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Its objectives span the various SDGs, such as “No Poverty”, “Decent work” and “Economic Growth”.
“The gap between tertiary education and access to the workplace is a worldwide phenomenon. It is even more pronounced in the outlying areas of Bizana where the nearest city is more than 146km away. Through this programme, we are playing our part in opening the doors for students who come from areas with limited opportunities. As our company grows, we will continue to hold the hands of the youth to Khula Nathi,” Zoliswa Tshetshe, M&D’s Human Resources Director, says. Having grown up in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape herself, Zoliswa identifies with the positive impact of such interventions on young South Africans in igniting their hope for the future.
The students from various universities in the province who were invited to work alongside M&D’s team on the upgrade of Meje Clinic in Bizana included:
- NtombovuyoSabuka, a Civil Engineering Intern;
- ManelisisSoshangase, a Quantity Surveyor Intern;
- Nkokheli Boya, a Safety Intern;
- AphiweMadikizela, a HR Intern;
- NomfunekoNkumpuka, a Building Management Intern;
- Unam Madikizela, an Electrical Engineering Intern; and
- ThembekaSikiti, a Safety Intern.
To mark the closing of the successful programme, a ceremony was held at the clinic in May 2021.
Speaking at the ceremony, Sabuka said, “I am grateful to M&D for giving me an opportunity to acquire communication and computer literacy skills, as well as to gain important practical experience. As an aspiring Civil Engineer and businesswoman in construction, I will use my new-found skills and knowledge to develop and operate a successful business.”
Tshetshe said that the many young members of the M&D team were providing a very important new dimension to the business. “We are proud of the fact that more than 30% of our company consists of people younger than 35 years of age. They are constantly challenging us to remain relevant and, to a certain extent, keep abreast of change,” she said.
The university students told Tshetshe that they were grateful and proud to have also been given the chance to play their part in building infrastructure that will help to improve the lives of so many people.
“We have taken a step away from simply having our core values enshrined in glossy documents. We are internalising and demonstrating them through our actions, which also includes always ‘Being Safe’, ‘Doing it Right’, ‘Finding the Best Way’ and ‘Doing What we Say’ on our all our projects,” Rukesh Raghubir, CEO of M&D, concludes.