Building a brighter tomorrow and providing #DignityThroughInfrastructure.

Every year ASLA awards bursaries to qualifying individuals studying Civil Engineering, Construction Management and Quantity Surveying or a B-Tech at a Cape-based institution, such as Stellenbosch or the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). The bursary programme is structured in such a way that, once the bursars have qualified, the graduates are obligated to work back the number of years for which they were awarded a bursary. While guaranteeing the bursars employment for this period, ASLA is unfortunately not always able to absorb these individuals long-term. However, the relevant industry work experience gathered, and on-site mentorship better prepares these individuals for future career opportunities.

A few recently qualified bursars, who completed their B-Tech in Construction Management at CPUT in 2022, are currently engaged at the Sir Lowry’s Pass Village project – these include Dikhutla Jack Modubi and Sibabalwe Maqethuka.

26-year-old Dikhutla (Jack) Modubi hails from Polokwane, Limpopo and left his hometown for the Western Cape to study Construction Management at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. During 2019 he completed a year of in-service training at ASLA, after which he was awarded one of the ASLA bursaries, for his third year of study during 2020. In 2021 he returned to work back the bursary year and explains that as time went by it became easier to grasp more concepts and be more independent on site. “I didn’t need the constant supervision, and I could begin making informed decisions.”

In 2022 he returned to CPUT, again with an ASLA bursary, to study for his B-Tech. In 2023 he was back on site, this time armed with his B-Tech and the confidence gained by a mix of practical and theoretical experience. “University teaches you how to think. So far, each level of my studies has helped me broaden my horizon theoretically, and though the transition from theory to practice was at first challenging, it became much easier,” says Jack. “Last year in particular I learned people skills and work-related skills, that I’m able to implement on site now.”

26-year-year old Sibabalwe (Siba) Maqethuka originally hails from Graaf Reinet and moved to Cape Town to study Construction Management and Quantity Surveying at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). After graduating and completing the requisite undergraduate practical experience (with Civils 2000 at the Koeberg Power Plant) Siba successfully applied for a 2022 ASLA bursary to study a B-Tech in Construction Management. “I always wanted to study further, but I knew for my post-grad I would have to get a bursary,” says Siba. He was looking for employment when he came across information on the ASLA bursary. “This opportunity with ASLA helped me out big time, as I could finish my advanced diploma and be employed the following year.”

While completing his B-Tech Siba spent hours doing in-depth research on the concepts being dealt with in class. “During our course the guys that had worked on site more found it quite easy,” explains Siba, “but for me, without that much experience I wanted to be able to visualise – so there were a lot of moments where I would try find information on YouTube – for example for on pile excavations… My research really got me interested in the production side of things.”

Now that he has graduated Siba is able to explore production in practice. He joined the ASLA Construction Housing Division team at Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, and as site engineer his day-to-day responsibilities include overseeing earthworks, excavations, foundations, floor slabs, managing the concrete mix, and managing some of the subcontractors. “I’m a fast learner, and am getting used to the system here, as well as understanding all my responsibilities with regard to the subcontractors,” says Siba “There is a broad mentorship culture at ASLA, and I’m able to ask our site agents, site foremen and other colleagues a lot of questions – it also helps working with Jack, who had a year on site before his post grad studies.”