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Now is the time for matric learners to seriously think about their future and put their applications in at their preferred university, based on June Grade 12 results. If they wait until they receive their matric certificate, they may be too late to apply to study at university next year.

Many learners may be hesitating to apply because they do not have the money to pay for further education. However, Bonny Feldman, Communications & Development Officer of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) says a lack of finances should not hold students back from continuing their education.

The National Student Financial Scheme (NSFAS) is a government organisation which aims to provide a sustainable financial aid system to allow academically deserving and financially needy students to meet their own and South Africa’s development needs.

Kelly, a division of the Kelly Group Limited, has recently partnered with NFSAS to help extend the reach of the program through educating and creating awareness around funding for further studies.

As this country’s leading people organisation, Kelly is passionate about boosting the employment prospects of disadvantaged South Africans, which includes helping bright learners to further their studies.

To this end, Kelly is taking advantage of its national footprint of over 28 branches across South Africa to inform learners personally about NFSAS, and to encourage learners to apply for further education, even if they think they can’t afford it.

Feldman explains that, on acceptance at a public tertiary institution, the learner can apply for financial assistance. “A bursary naturally is first prize for students from impoverished homes, but the reality is, there are simply not enough bursaries to accommodate everybody. However a lack of finances should not dissuade learners with academic ability from continuing their education. Loans from NFSAS provide an excellent opportunity for learners to study, without incurring huge financial debt.”

A learner will only be expected to repay the loan once he/she starts working. The parents of the student are not liable to repay the loan, and students can reduce the amount repayable by up to 40% if they pass well.

As part of its commitment to the NFSAS project, Kelly is currently visiting more than 50 schools nationwide to encourage learners to further their studies, and to inform them of the further-study funds available to them. Kelly Chief Operating Officer Gayleen Baxter says Kelly is also offering career advice to learners, which includes tips on job seeking, writing a good CV and interview role plays.

“With our extensive reach, we can personally visit a large number of schools across the country to ensure that as many learners as possible know about, and can access, this further-study money” explains Baxter.

This partnership is the latest in a string of CSR projects Kelly has embraced to help fundamentally change the lives of South Africans. Kelly also supports Brite Byte’s unique internship programme which champions people with disabilities and has previously supported the Department of Education and Editworks’ Ikusasa Lami (meaning my future, my tomorrow) programme which sought to address the critical skills shortage in the Gauteng province.

As an organisation, Kelly has a long-standing reputation for boosting employment opportunities for previously disadvantaged individuals. Kelly was the first staffing provider in South Africa to open a branch in a township and, in just under 15 years, its Kelly Alexandra branch upskilled more than 10 000 previously disadvantaged individuals free of charge and placed more than 4500 in jobs.

Last year, Kelly opened its flagship Soweto branch at Maponya Mall in a further bid to improve employment opportunities for the Soweto community. “It gives us great pride to know that we can leverage our expertise to transform the lives of South Africans and, in the process, make this country a better place to live in,” concludes Baxter.

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