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Investing in the youth: BBD’s Bursary & Beyond Programme


Johannesburg, 16 Apr 2021
Read time 3min 50sec

Investing in young talent empowers an industry with new ideas, crucial skillsets and a culture of innovation. For a sector dealing with the realities of a skills shortage combined with high industry standards and healthy competition, IT-related bursaries are critical not only for the South African economy and the lifeblood of the industry, but for the students themselves.

South African grown software development heavyweight, BBD, is doing its part to address this skills shortage, taking a grassroots approach to complement its existing Graduate Programme and meeting the students where they need the most support.

BBD’s Bursary & Beyond Programme aims to assist and grow talented students working towards their degree in computer science, mechanical, electrical or software engineering, IT, informatics or game design.

“What sets our Bursary Programme apart is in how we not only give students the financial means to complete their studies, but give them hands-on exposure to real-world software development. We want to solve the age-old battle for students of needing to be hired with experience, when no one will give them any” explains Gus Pringle, a BBD Director. “The true power of our programme, however, is that we’re setting our bursars up for a career at BBD.”

BBD is a company of technology solutionists. With offices across South Africa, India, the UK and Netherlands, and a pool of over 900 exceptionally talented professionals, there is no problem the teams can’t solve. Leading the charge in transferring this passion and knowledge to their bursars is BBD’s research and development team (ATC), which facilitates a week-long vacation workshop each year and remains in contact to help guide the bursars through their studies.

“Vac week is a unique opportunity for the bursars to be immersed in the BBD culture while they meet fellow bursars and participate in a group project using the latest tech to create fun, practical solutions to real-world problems,” explains Tony van der Linden, Head of ATC. It’s more than a vac week though. Van der Linden states that this interaction creates a platform where bursars have access to expert mentors who help them throughout their studies and across all subjects and personal tech projects so that the bursars have a better chance of real success.

As the feeder school into the Graduate Programme, after completing their studies, BBD bursars step into employment at the company, diving into project teams, gaining experience in myriad technologies and bridging the gap between what they learnt at university and the skills they need to have a successful career in software development.

Understanding that fresh entrants into the industry are often looking for a chance to learn across different projects, technologies and sectors, BBD’s culture is one of agility and project flexibility – basically meaning that employees don’t need to leave the company to find a new challenge or gain expertise in a different domain.

Van der Linden explains that working on international projects across numerous industries and innumerable paradigms, including the likes of cloud computing, automation and robotics, and AI and machine learning, ensures that BBD employees stay relevant, challenged and motivated. “Couple this with a dynamic continuous learning programme across the company and you start to see the endless paths your career can take with us.”

To qualify for BBD’s Bursary & Beyond Programme, applicants must:

  • Be studying towards a relevant IT-related degree at a recognised university;
  • If in matric, have an average over 70% (weighted to maths, science and informatics);
  • Hold a university acceptance letter;
  • If already studying, have a transcript including both first year semesters showing academic average over 65%;
  • Demonstrate a clear passion for technology; and
  • It's a plus if they have a link to personal code projects on GitHub or similar.

“Unlike many bursary programmes, ours accepts students from matric though to master's degrees. What we’re looking for are passionate, motivated students achieving good results who need the opportunity to showcase what they can do,” reiterates Pringle.

The path to a successful career begins here. To find out more about the Bursary & Beyond Programme and the company, visit https://bbdsoftware.com/bursar.

Applications for 2022 are open.

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