Fourth year nursing student, Zulcke Cleophas, from Hopefield in the Western Cape, is currently one of hundreds of students juggling their studies and nursing practical in South Africa at the moment. However, as tricky as she finds changing between theory and practical, it’s this work experience that is actually helping her make sense of the academics.

“Although it’s been tricky, I am starting to enjoy it and find that I learn a lot more doing the practical work. I’ve also found that this profession is helping my personal development, in practical work I feel like I am growing a lot as a person, while at the same time learning,” explained Zulcke, who is currently studying towards a BTECH- Nursing Science at CPUT in Worcester.

This practical training will also help prepare 23-year old Zulcke for her compulsory community service (CCS), which she’ll start as soon as she graduates. Since 2008, qualifying nurses, with four-year diplomas or degrees in nursing, have been required to carry out CCS in public health institutions before their qualifications can be registered with the South African Nursing Council.

Zulcke, a beneficiary of the Umoya Energy Scholarship Programme, has been able to follow her childhood dream that was inspired after a visit to the emergency services. “Nursing is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a teenager, a decision that came about when one day when I was rushed to the emergency centre. Seeing the way the nurses worked with the patients made me feel like I wanted to make a change in this space,” she explains.

For many young people, being awarded a scholarship is often the only option available for after-school education. Financial assistance of this nature offers youth the opportunity to follow their dreams, while helping relieve the financial strain on parents or guardians.

“The bursary has been such a great help because we were really struggling with finances, wondering how I was going to complete my final year of studies. The allowances have been a huge help as well, because there are so many other expenses that come with studying when you are living away from home,” said Zulcke.

Once she has graduated and completed her CCS, she is hoping to secure work closer to home, or in the West Coast area, to allow her to be near to her close-knit family. There is also an option to specialise in a certain field of nursing, but for now she is looking forward to graduating.

“The bursary has had a huge impact on me personally, because I felt like the Umoya Energy Wind Farm believed in me and saw potential in me. It has inspired me to work harder and be better at what I do,” concluded Zulcke.

The Umoya Energy Scholarship Programme was launched four years ago to provide tertiary education funding for youth. The focus is to contribute towards human resource development in fields considered critical for the South African economy. Study fields include: Teaching, Engineering, Natural and Social Sciences, Environment and Nursing.

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