In 2010, Konica Minolta South Africa launched a bursary initiative called the Life Starter programme. The concept was to identify grade nine students who were interested in a career in the IT sector and then provide a three year schooling bursary to the successful candidate, along with the promise of employment after school.
Initially, five branches were asked to participate, including the Port Elizabeth (PE) branch. Two local schools were approached as they offered subjects in line with the base skills set that was required.
There was an abundance of interested scholars, but this was whittled down to eight candidates and then three finalists. The final three were given the opportunity to work at the PE branch for a week during the school holidays. After this evaluation and final interviews, it was agreed that fifteen year old Timothy Paulsen was the best candidate for the Life Starter Bursary. The bursary, which is funded by Konica Minolta South Africa, included school fees, school uniform, stationery, as well contributions towards extra mural activities for the 2012 to 2014 school years.
Year on year, Timothy performed well and his results went from strength to strength. He matriculated in 2014 with an overall average of a C and acceptance for a Bachelors degree.
Living the dream
After his studies, Timothy started working as a trainee technician at the PE branch in January 2015 and immediately proved the value of the training path he had followed. His responsibilities include repairs, setting up of new devices, as well as refurbishing pre-owned devices in the workshops.
But this is not the end of his learning journey. He has already achieved 100 percent in the associate level in KMIT (Konica Minolta Business Technologies – Japan) web based learning and he is currently studying towards the professional level. Furthermore Timothy has been enrolled in the IT – Technical Support Learnership Programme to be held in Johannesburg, which is due to start later this year. Once this training has been completed, Timothy will be responsible for the IT Helpdesk Software support at the PE branch.
"I would like to thank Konica Minolta South Africa for giving me this opportunity to fulfil my dream. It was an honour to obtain the bursary and it gave me a sense of pride knowing that I was selected from a group of other learners. The bursary took a lot of the financial pressure off from my parents, which was a huge blessing," says Timothy.
"Additionally, being given the opportunity to work and study is such an advantage, I am doing theory and practical which I enjoy. I know of many people who have studied but cannot find work in their field of qualification. Going forward I want to continue to work for Konica Minolta South Africa, being an asset to the company, being a loyal employee and contributing to the growth and progress of the company.
"Lastly, I would to say a big 'Thank you' to everyone at the Port Elizabeth branch, for welcoming me, believing in me and making me feel part of the family," he concludes.