The University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the biggest travel company in the country, Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG), launched a partnership this week to bolster student and teaching support.On Monday 21 November, new student bursaries and significant sponsorship of a lecture room at the UJ School of Tourism and Hospitality (STH) by FCTG were announced at the Bunting Road Campus of the University.
At the launch event, the two bursary recipients met with the FCTG Managing Director, Mr Andrew Stark and other senior managers.
Ms Trishia Tshandu (20), a second-year tourism student from Johannesburg, said she is the first person in her family to attend university. Her sister is the family’s sole breadwinner.
Mr Neo Malema (21), a first-year tourism student currently living in Melville with his mother, said he would have had to drop out of university next year had he not managed to secure a bursary.
“I am funding my first-year studies at UJ through part-time work as a tour guide and assisting my brother with sound engineering gigs. I have managed my dyslexia with repetitive reading and self-teaching. Once I complete my degree, I’d like to look at business concepts like a boutique hotel offering especially for entertainers. I’m grateful not only for the bursary, but also for the benefit of the mentorship that Flight Centre offer to us.”
Dr Diane Abrahams, Director of STH said: “Transformation in the tourism and hospital industry is vital for the growth of this important sector of our economy. At the STH we enable young people, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, to enter the industry in a variety of exciting careers whereby they transform not only their lives but that of their family and the community in which they live.
“FCTG is sponsoring bursaries for two of our students who are excelling academically, and are part of the ‘Missing Middle’ – students who are regarded as too rich to qualify for government support, but too poor to afford tuition fees.
“It is encouraging to see international industry partners such as FCTG supporting both students and the infrastructure needed to deliver more young professionals to the workplace. The partnership between STH and FCTG demonstrates and gives life to our brand promise of partnering with industry for future-fit leadership,” said Abrahams.
Added Mr Andrew Stark, Managing Director at FCTG: “Travel, tourism and hospitality is the fastest-growing sector alongside banking and agriculture, contributing 10% to global GDP. We’d like to see more government collaboration with the private sector to promote the industry. We are committed to doing our part and our partnership with UJ is the start. We care about delivering amazing travel experiences but we also care about collaboratively educating our youth of today to become our leaders of tomorrow.”