2019 & 2020 Annual Report

Powered by Unity in Africa Foundation

We invest in youth who possess a strong work ethic and the self-belief to succeed in becoming skilled future IT and engineering professionals.

iGEMS is a 4-phase Education-to-Employment Program

We give youth the opportunity to enhance their education and transition through an internship year and onto tertiary education, with possible employment once they graduate. Our core focus is development through educational support programs that empower individuals to contribute positively to our economy.

Chairman & Director's Report

Berenice Rose

"Lockdown has brought new opportunities for innovation in our upskilling process – going online in our classes and virtual career expo did not hinder students’ commitment to their journey towards success.
2020 taught us the importance of our partnership driven approach as well as the importance of choosing excellence above all else."

2020 – A year we all, the world over, are reflecting on. Our perceptions of the norm has been challenged in ways we never imagined possible. Some faced challenges they were unable to overcome, while others used opportunities to reflect on how they could navigate the new normal. iGEMS as a programme, our team of staff, tutors and beneficiaries all have stories to tell of resilience, fear, patience and uncertainty.

Berenice Rose

Director
Unity In Africa Foundation

Evan Dold 2

Evan Dold

Chairman
Board of Trustees

We entered our 6th year of operation in January 2020 with much enthusiasm. With plans of expansion into weekly coding, robotics and programming classes, a first collaborative youth career day for potential engineers with our local engineering faculty at the Nelson Mandela University and industry partners and a long awaited gala event to showcase the growth and success of iGEMS and the impact we were able to make with stakeholders support. Needless to say, our enthusiasm was soon dampened, but we managed to find different ways of delivering impact and knowledge to students along with fantastic partnerships we had built up during the past few years.

With the news of lockdown, our team immediately rallied with our supportive partners to ensure that no student would be left without access to maths, science and leadership classes as a minimum intervention during this period. Online classes were implemented from the 2nd week of lockdown via WhatsApp and EduCreations. It was soon evident that students were still struggling with the tools to receive the content and the digital divide grew between the haves and the have-nots. 

Students who attend under-resourced schools were at an added disadvantage with little to no teaching received during this period. This exacerbated the problem even further and the importance of having our students receive academic support and content delivery of all subjects became evident to ensure that they stay abreast of the academic demands so that they are able to face finals with confidence.

A strategic decision was taken to purchase and introduce a closed network learning device to every iGEMS students. Included in this was enough data for students to work on their academics uninterrupted. All they needed was the will power to self-study and resilience to get comfortable with the new classroom style of Zoom lessons.

In 2019 we made an important decision to outsource the provision of our Mathematics and Science tutoring to Glovebox, a company run by Prof. Hugh Glover and Kelly Friskin, a team with a wealth of knowledge and a heart for ensuring all students who pass through their system thrive. Whilst this decision meant that our spend on this component of the iGEMS programme would increase. The appointment of Glovebox resulted in a more professional and effective approach to this critical part of our programme and has resulted in improvements in pupils’ matriculation marks going forward – thus enabling more of our matriculants to decide to pursue a career in an engineering field.

Another key strategic objective since inception has been to diversify our funding sources. We are pleased to report that good progress was made in this respect during 2019 and 2020. Whilst we had in previous years been almost entirely dependent on member company donations, we were fortunate to receive donations from various family foundations and development trusts in 2019/20.

Little did we know when we exited 2019 that the year 2020 would bring huge challenges – and opportunities – as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. These donations enabled us to weather the storms of 2020 and to invest in ways which has improved the effectiveness and longer term sustainability of the iGEMS programme. Suffice to say that we are managing well and have made some very important decisions that we believe will serve to strengthen the iGEMS programme going forward.

We at the foundation, from the Board of Trustees to staff and the many student beneficiaries, are ever grateful to the many supporters, donors and member companies who are collaborating with us, believe in the work that we do and show trust in being a part of creating career and job opportunities in the engineering field for growing numbers of disadvantaged South Africans in the Nelson Mandela Bay area. As you read through the success stories in this report, we thank our partners for their unwavering support.

Chairman & Director's Report

Berenice Rose

Director
Unity In Africa Foundation

Evan Dold

Chairman
Board of Trustees

"Lockdown has brought new opportunities for innovation in our upskilling process – going online in our classes and virtual career expo did not hinder students’ commitment to their journey towards success.
2020 taught us the importance of our partnership driven approach as well as the importance of choosing excellence above all else."

2020 – A year we all, the world over, are reflecting on. Our perceptions of the norm has been challenged in ways we never imagined possible. Some faced challenges they were unable to overcome, while others used opportunities to reflect on how they could navigate the new normal. iGEMS as a programme, our team of staff, tutors and beneficiaries all have stories to tell of resilience, fear, patience and uncertainty.

We entered our 6th year of operation in January 2020 with much enthusiasm. With plans of expansion into weekly coding, robotics and programming classes, a first collaborative youth career day for potential engineers with our local engineering faculty at the Nelson Mandela University and industry partners and a long awaited gala event to showcase the growth and success of iGEMS and the impact we were able to make with stakeholders support. Needless to say, our enthusiasm was soon dampened, but we managed to find different ways of delivering impact and knowledge to students along with fantastic partnerships we had built up during the past few years.

With the news of lockdown, our team immediately rallied with our supportive partners to ensure that no student would be left without access to maths, science and leadership classes as a minimum intervention during this period. Online classes were implemented from the 2nd week of lockdown via WhatsApp and EduCreations. It was soon evident that students were still struggling with the tools to receive the content and the digital divide grew between the haves and the have-nots. 

Students who attend under-resourced schools were at an added disadvantage with little to no teaching received during this period. This exacerbated the problem even further and the importance of having our students receive academic support and content delivery of all subjects became evident to ensure that they stay abreast of the academic demands so that they are able to face finals with confidence.

A strategic decision was taken to purchase and introduce a closed network learning device to every iGEMS students. Included in this was enough data for students to work on their academics uninterrupted. All they needed was the will power to self-study and resilience to get comfortable with the new classroom style of Zoom lessons.

In 2019 we made an important decision to outsource the provision of our Mathematics and Science tutoring to Glovebox, a company run by Prof. Hugh Glover and Kelly Friskin, a team with a wealth of knowledge and a heart for ensuring all students who pass through their system thrive. Whilst this decision meant that our spend on this component of the iGEMS programme would increase. The appointment of Glovebox resulted in a more professional and effective approach to this critical part of our programme and has resulted in improvements in pupils’ matriculation marks going forward – thus enabling more of our matriculants to decide to pursue a career in an engineering field.

Another key strategic objective since inception has been to diversify our funding sources. We are pleased to report that good progress was made in this respect during 2019 and 2020. Whilst we had in previous years been almost entirely dependent on member company donations, we were fortunate to receive donations from various family foundations and development trusts in 2019/20.

Little did we know when we exited 2019 that the year 2020 would bring huge challenges – and opportunities – as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. These donations enabled us to weather the storms of 2020 and to invest in ways which has improved the effectiveness and longer term sustainability of the iGEMS programme. Suffice to say that we are managing well and have made some very important decisions that we believe will serve to strengthen the iGEMS programme going forward.

We at the foundation, from the Board of Trustees to staff and the many student beneficiaries, are ever grateful to the many supporters, donors and member companies who are collaborating with us, believe in the work that we do and show trust in being a part of creating career and job opportunities in the engineering field for growing numbers of disadvantaged South Africans in the Nelson Mandela Bay area. As you read through the success stories in this report, we thank our partners for their unwavering support.

Engineering is the Future

South Africa needs more engineers to promote the future growth of the economy. However, STEM subjects are not being encouraged.

iGEMS, with our partners, are on a mission to change that…

Together with industry, the community, the schools and tertiary institutions by our side, we believe we can create change, inspire youth and change the trajectory of their lives.

In comparison to the rest of the world, South Africa is suffering from a severe shortage of engineers. This is how we stack up against countries across the globe:
SA

1 in 3,100

Germany

15 in 200

Japan

10 in 310

UK

10 in 310

USA

10 in 310

Impact statement

How did we make a difference?

Students Impacted from 2015 to 2020

iGEMS has cumulatively impacted on over a hundred students since the original intake in 2015. We are looking forward to continuing our growth and impact in the future!

2015
16👩‍🎓👨‍🎓
2016
46 👩‍🎓👨‍🎓
2017
71 👩‍🎓👨‍🎓
2018
96 👩‍🎓👨‍🎓
2019
118 👩‍🎓👨‍🎓
2020
151 👩‍🎓👨‍🎓

Maths and Science Achievements

There has been a significant increase in Maths and Science averages from Grade 10 to Grade 12 since our initial 2015 intake. We take great pride in this statistic as an indicator of the wonderful impact the iGEMS program continues to make in the lives of our students.

*2020 intake results will not be included in the graphs above as this intake only matriculates at the end of 2021.

Overall Improvement in Matric Maths & Science Results
Since Grade 10

0 %
of 2019 matrics improved their maths
0 %
of 2019 matrics improved their science

Most Improved 2020 Matric Student Since Grade 10:
Likhaya Ntshiza

1 %
improvement in maths
0 %
improvement in science

A Word From Our Phase 1
Maths & Science Tutors

2020 was a great year for our partnership with iGEMS, despite all the craziness around us! In March 2020 the world turned on its head and we suddenly found ourselves without the familiar classroom environment. We were forced to think differently and figure out how to continue with quality education in the digital space. I am proud of the way in which Glovebox and iGEMS worked together and found solutions so quickly! It was a steep learning curve for us, as well as the learners, but we did it and came through the year with some excellent results to show for it. Our love for the learners and for not letting them fall behind really excelled us and we were able to cover the whole curriculum (even the parts that schools were told to leave out).

iGEMS is a special programme that helps the learners holistically! It has the potential to change the trajectory of someone’s life and their families’ for future generations! I love our partnership with iGEMS as I see it as a place to really sow into the lives of young people and make a positive difference in South Africa.

Kelly Friskin

Prof Hugh Glover

iGEMS in Numbers

With your support we have been able to impact on the lives of students by making education and opportunities accessible.

Our focus on skills other than merely “curriculum-based” learning has allowed our students to improve their employability, as well as their understanding of engineering as a career at large.

Our social media footprint has seen a significant increase since 2019 which has increased the awareness of the program and allowed us to reach a greater number of students overall.

100% Bachelors' Pass for our 2020 Matric class!

5/5

With your support we have been able to impact on the lives of students by making education and opportunities accessible.

Our focus on skills other than merely “curriculum-based” learning has allowed our students to improve their employability, as well as their understanding of engineering as a career at large.

Our social media footprint has seen a significant increase since 2019 which has increased the awareness of the program and allowed us to reach a greater number of students overall.

100% Bachelors' Pass for our 2020 Matric class!

5/5

We Are Proud Of

2019 School Leaders

Head Boys

  • Mandilakhe Gqolana (Paterson High School)

  • Sachin Naicker (Woolhope High School)

Deputy Head Girls

  • Cursty Adams (Sanctor High School)

Prefects

  • Jewandre Witbooi (Lawson Brown High School)

  • Malibongwe Kolokolo (Newton Technical School)

2020 School Leaders

Deputy Head Girls

  • Asemahle Geelbooi (Newton Technical School)

  • Buhlebenkosi Hlathi  (Strelitzia High School)

Deputy Head Boys

  • Elrico Williams (Cillie Hoërskool)

  • Nqaba Laxa (Newton Technical School)

Prefects

  • Sibonisiwe Cakwebe (Newton Technical School)

When COVID Struck

The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on education. However, iGEMS, like many other organisations, had to think creatively, and ensure that operations continued unabated.

Our quick response to the lockdown rules allowed us to continue serving and impacting on our students, which is evidenced by the fantastic results in comparison to their peers.

2020 Timeline From Cancellation of First Event to Final Face to Face Class

Equipping Students with Technology

Not only were students not attending school, but many weren’t being supported and/or receiving learning content from their schools. Added to this, the cost of data and having effective tools to work on became an evident problem, exacerbating the digital divide. 

iGEMS took a strategic decision to invest in learning devices to ensure no student was left behind.

Berenice Rose

"We are grateful to an anonymous donor who afforded us the opportunity to react soon into lockdown to purchase learning devices, thereby enabling our students to stay abreast of the academic requirements. The result of this speaks for itself as is evident in our 2020 final exam results."

Device Features:

Students' Reflections on the Devices

"The digital exam papers were very useful because my school doesn't have all the text books, so having access to content on the devices was very helpful."

"It has improved my understanding of the topics I struggle with because I am able to watch videos on Mindset which covers these topics."

"I gained 3 points in maths and science. I find the device VERY USEFUL. It helped me a lot."

Stories of Resilience

Stories of Resilience

Zoom Stats

(From April to Oct 2020)

1
Total hours invested in leadership over Zoom
1
Total hours invested in maths and Science over Zoom
1 1
Total hours on Zoom
1
Most screen time goes to Luthando Tupeni
1
Total hours spent accessing online web platforms
1 1
Total time spent accessing offline library resources

Recruiting for 2020 & 2021

Recruiting young future engineers is no easy task. Candidates are put through their paces, and so are our staff.

In 2019 we visited over 40 schools as part of our roadshow in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro from which we received more than 200 applications. This kick-started our 7-step recruitment process which culminates in the orientation program that marks the start of the year for our new recruits.

2020 brought about changes due to Covid, and we had to execute our recruiting process virtually.

In partnership with Nelson Mandela University’s Engineering, IT and Computing Studies Department, we participated in the first-ever Engineering and IT Virtual Career Webinar and identified 19 successful students for 2021!

1 1
students from 22 Schools applied
1 1
students from 11 schools were successful

With Gratitude from Our Phase 2 Students

With Gratitude from Our

Phase 2 Students

Our 2020 Phase 2 students had a wonderful learning experience during their year of work at their respective member companies!

We are extremely grateful to all our participating member companies. We could not do this without you.

Play Video

Phase 2 Year of Work

We had anticipated that company placements would have been compromised due to the immediate and long-term economic impact of the lockdown, however, we held a well-attended SIP (Student Interview Process) and were able to successfully place all our students in industry for 2020.

Here is what the students are saying about their placements.

My journey with the iGEMS program has been incredibly amazing. It is honestly one of the things in my life I thank God for. I appreciate the facilitators for always pushing us to be more assertive and confident and to be great future leaders in our own individual fields. I thank the program for giving me the opportunity to work at Lumotech this year, I have learned a lot and most importantly I have been able to experience engineering hands-on, in the workplace. I will be starting out as a BEng Tech Electrical Engineering first year student at NMU in 2021 and I am ready.

Malibongwe Kolokolo

Phase 2, AN ASPIRING ELECTRICAL ENGINEER

Malibongwe Kolokolo

Phase 2, AN ASPIRING ELECTRICAL ENGINEER

My journey with the iGEMS program has been incredibly amazing. It is honestly one of the things in my life I thank God for. I appreciate the facilitators for always pushing us to be more assertive and confident and to be great future leaders in our own individual fields. I thank the program for giving me the opportunity to work at Lumotech this year, I have learned a lot and most importantly I have been able to experience engineering hands-on, in the workplace. I will be starting out as a BEng Tech Electrical Engineering first year student at NMU in 2021 and I am ready.

Xhanti Shai

Phase 2, Aspiring Mechanical Engineering

Going to the workplace helped me. I was introduced to the working environment and I see that it is diverse and how important it is to learn how to interact and communicate with people of different cultures and learn about their cultures. It is because of the iGEMS leadership sessions that I was open to learning all that industry taught me. 

iGEMS gave us the OMANG devices that eliminated internet connection problems when studying. I was assigned an iGEMS mentor who was there whenever I needed help or when I was struggling at work or needing advice with Varsity applications. iGEMS staff supplied us with links to apply for Varsity, bursaries and scholarships and gave us contacts to call or email when we had a problem with applications or acceptance confirmations. 

Sinovuyo Matches

Phase 2 Electrical Engineering Apprentice

iGEMS is like the turning of the keys, another chapter, starting the car on my love for engineering. From the leadership sessions I learnt emotional intelligence, leader skills in me and most importantly responsibility which is this year’s theme. Computer classes help a lot regarding my computer skills which is why I’m considering helping other people with their Curriculum Vitae. Maths and Science classes helped me achieve some of my academic goals. The Holiday Programmes were an eye opener and made engineering appealing to me. I am currently an electrical apprentice and am one of the youngest and the only female in the workshop. I am choosing an apprenticeship of three years instead of a one year learnership, it was an easy decision to make as I love to be hands on. I continue to work hard and grow within my career path.

Owam Ntlemeza

Phase 2, AN ASPIRING ELECTRICAL/ELECTRONIC ENGINEER

The iGEMS family is a powerful force and an awesome introduction to engineering and the tools needed to be an exceptional leader within the workplace. My experience within this powerful engine, I say engine because this organization is a driving force, has been an insightful and fulfilling one. It has been an arduous journey but one that teaches one discipline, this is taught by appointments being made and having to show up on time with all tasks and assignments done and ready to be presented. It is instilled through the manner in that we are presented with ways to help ourselves, extra Maths and Science classes, by sacrificing sleeping in and going out on Saturdays during grades 11 and 12, and instead wake up early in order to get to our classes on time. The programme has also gifted us with emotional intelligence and problem solving techniques that can be used within the workplace. During my year of work at Jendamark Automation in 2020 is where I was able to implement some of the techniques learnt in leadership in order to further learn and get on the good side of my seniors in the workplace. I completed my extremely fulfilling, insightful and relevant year at Jendamark well prepared to embark on my academic journey at the University of Pretoria as a BEng Electronic Engineering ENGAGE first year student. Thanks to the collective teachings in Phase 1 and 2 of iGEMS, I feel well prepared for Phase 3.

My journey with the iGEMS program has been incredibly amazing. It is honestly one of the things in my life I thank God for. I appreciate the facilitators for always pushing us to be more assertive and confident and to be great future leaders in our own individual fields. I thank the program for giving me the opportunity to work at Lumotech this year, I have learned a lot and most importantly I have been able to experience engineering hands-on, in the workplace. I will be starting out as a BEng Tech Electrical Engineering first year student at NMU in 2021 and I am ready.

Malibongwe Kolokolo

Phase 2, AN ASPIRING ELECTRICAL ENGINEER

Going to the workplace helped me. I was introduced to the working environment and I see that it is diverse and how important it is to learn how to interact and communicate with people of different cultures and learn about their cultures. It is because of the iGEMS leadership sessions that I was open to learning all that industry taught me. 

iGEMS gave us the OMANG devices that eliminated internet connection problems when studying. I was assigned an iGEMS mentor who was there whenever I needed help or when I was struggling at work or needing advice with Varsity applications. iGEMS staff supplied us with links to apply for Varsity, bursaries and scholarships and gave us contacts to call or email when we had a problem with applications or acceptance confirmations. 

Xhanti Shai

Phase 2, Aspiring Mechanical Engineering

iGEMS is like the turning of the keys, another chapter, starting the car on my love for engineering. From the leadership sessions I learnt emotional intelligence, leader skills in me and most importantly responsibility which is this year’s theme. Computer classes help a lot regarding my computer skills which is why I’m considering helping other people with their Curriculum Vitae. Maths and Science classes helped me achieve some of my academic goals. The Holiday Programmes were an eye opener and made engineering appealing to me. I am currently an electrical apprentice and am one of the youngest and the only female in the workshop. I am choosing an apprenticeship of three years instead of a one year learnership, it was an easy decision to make as I love to be hands on. I continue to work hard and grow within my career path.

Sinovuyo Matches

Phase 2 Electrical Engineering Apprentice

The iGEMS family is a powerful force and an awesome introduction to engineering and the tools needed to be an exceptional leader within the workplace. My experience within this powerful engine, I say engine because this organization is a driving force, has been an insightful and fulfilling one. It has been an arduous journey but one that teaches one discipline, this is taught by appointments being made and having to show up on time with all tasks and assignments done and ready to be presented. It is instilled through the manner in that we are presented with ways to help ourselves, extra Maths and Science classes, by sacrificing sleeping in and going out on Saturdays during grades 11 and 12, and instead wake up early in order to get to our classes on time. The programme has also gifted us with emotional intelligence and problem solving techniques that can be used within the workplace. During my year of work at Jendamark Automation in 2020 is where I was able to implement some of the techniques learnt in leadership in order to further learn and get on the good side of my seniors in the workplace. I completed my extremely fulfilling, insightful and relevant year at Jendamark well prepared to embark on my academic journey at the University of Pretoria as a BEng Electronic Engineering ENGAGE first year student. Thanks to the collective teachings in Phase 1 and 2 of iGEMS, I feel well prepared for Phase 3.

Owam Ntlemeza

Phase 2, AN ASPIRING ELECTRICAL/ELECTRONIC ENGINEER

Phase 3 Students Rocking the Boat

After Phase 2, our students have clarity about what Engineering and IT entails. This allows them to head into the next Phase of the program, with enthusiasm and certainty about what their future holds.

We are delighted that all our Phase 3 students have been fully funded for the next year.

25 Phase 3 Students

100% funded!

(Flip for more)

25 Students Funded

4 Apprenticeships & Learnerships
8 Member Company Bursary Recipients
13 Scholarships & Bursaries from Other Institutions

Our Final Phase Students
Have Their Say

iGEMS in Action

Exposure to engineering means the world to our students and it gives them first hand experience as to what their future could hold. We couldn’t do this without our member companies and supporters.

Thank you!

Below is a glimpse of some events, workshops, site visits and factory tours the students did during 2019 and 2020.

uGEMS

An iGEMS learner who has made a U-Turn to follow their true passion outside of engineering and IT, is known as a uGEM!

We share two stories of students that have been impacted by the iGEMS program even after changing course.

Cursty Adams

Cursty joined the iGEMS program in 2018 as a young lady with a gentle strength.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, she had time to reflect and realised that engineering was no longer the best fit for her. She then withdrew from the program and applied to NMU Psychology where she was accepted.

“Being a part of the iGEMS programme has been an amazing experience. One that has altered my life for the better. Many times I would imagine it being like standing at a diverged road. Being at a point where I had to choose between being a focused and hardworking student or just simply be part of the majority. Choosing to join this programme has set me on a path that I do not at all regret. I have grown tremendously from the person I started out as. With a different approach to bettering myself for the years to come.

The visits to big companies in industry has provided me with the insight that nobody my age is fortunate to attain and makes me so much more appreciative.

iGEMS provides its students with maths and science classes to strengthen our grades for the different course in engineering fields but also provides us with leadership sessions that has become our preparation and personal moulding. These sessions has allowed for deep thought processes that has enabled me to think out of the box, allowing me to make logical and well thought out decisions regarding my school and personal life.

Sacrificing weekends with friends and holidays I could have been laying around but I was actually spending that time working towards something great. Building towards a better tomorrow. All this has made me so much more responsible, structured and disciplined because I know how important working towards my future is and the iGEMS programme does too. 

My Phase 2 Year of Work started off a bit rocky as my Grade 12 Maths marks were not high enough to start the H&I journey that was planned for me, I was so disappointed but was lucky enough to be placed in another one of iGEMS member companies, Halden Consulting. I was grateful to have been taken on so last minute and enjoyed my work experience with them. Covid 19 however cut my experience short and with so many others, was sent home. It is during the months spent at home with my younger siblings and granny that I started reassessing my path and questioning if engineering was the best fit for me. I came to the realization that I wanted to be in a nurturing role so I applied and was accepted to do Psychology at NMU. I leave iGEMS with a heavy yet grateful heart. Thank you for giving me the tools I needed to make this decision with confidence.

Below is the introduction to “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. 

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both”

I’ve never been poetic but the words of this poem resonate with me. Thank you iGEMS”

Ovayo Booi

Ovayo joined iGEMS in her grade 11 year in 2018 and in her matric year she made the decision to withdraw from the program and pursue her pharmaceutical interest when she decided to go and study B Pharm at Rhodes University.

“I trust that you are well and protected during this difficult time. I might have left the programme but I always carry you guys with me. I faced a lot of difficulties last year. At some point I even wanted to quit school because nothing was making sense to me but my goals kept me going. Through all of that I passed my first year with 5/8 distinctions and I got “Dean’s list of Academic Merit.” As I was having a not so good day yesterday, I received an email from the Golden Key Society inviting me to join them. Do you know what that means?? It means I made it to the top 15% in my field of study. I am so proud of myself and I’ll forever be grateful to the Foundation. I went to University knowing well what to expect and how to carry myself because of your teachings. Thank you very much. 

I miss each and every one of you guys. To the first years, O Shame! That’s all I can say. University is hard, very hard but with a positive attitude there’s nothing you cannot do. I love you very much.”

Cursty Adams

Cursty joined the iGEMS program in 2018 as a young lady with a gentle strength. During the COVID-19 lockdown, she had time to reflect and realised that engineering was no longer the best fit for her. She then withdrew from the program and applied to NMU Psychology where she was accepted.

“Being a part of the iGEMS programme has been an amazing experience. One that has altered my life for the better. Many times I would imagine it being like standing at a diverged road. Being at a point where I had to choose between being a focused and hardworking student or just simply be part of the majority. Choosing to join this programme has set me on a path that I do not at all regret. I have grown tremendously from the person I started out as. With a different approach to bettering myself for the years to come.

The visits to big companies in industry has provided me with the insight that nobody my age is fortunate to attain and makes me so much more appreciative.

iGEMS provides its students with maths and science classes to strengthen our grades for the different course in engineering fields but also provides us with leadership sessions that has become our preparation and personal moulding. These sessions has allowed for deep thought processes that has enabled me to think out of the box, allowing me to make logical and well thought out decisions regarding my school and personal life.

Sacrificing weekends with friends and holidays I could have been laying around but I was actually spending that time working towards something great. Building towards a better tomorrow. All this has made me so much more responsible, structured and disciplined because I know how important working towards my future is and the iGEMS programme does too. 

My Phase 2 Year of Work started off a bit rocky as my Grade 12 Maths marks were not high enough to start the H&I journey that was planned for me, I was so disappointed but was lucky enough to be placed in another one of iGEMS member companies, Halden Consulting. I was grateful to have been taken on so last minute and enjoyed my work experience with them. Covid 19 however cut my experience short and with so many others, was sent home. It is during the months spent at home with my younger siblings and granny that I started reassessing my path and questioning if engineering was the best fit for me. I came to the realization that I wanted to be in a nurturing role so I applied and was accepted to do Psychology at NMU. I leave iGEMS with a heavy yet grateful heart. Thank you for giving me the tools I needed to make this decision with confidence.

Below is the introduction to “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. 

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both”

I’ve never been poetic but the words of this poem resonate with me. Thank you iGEMS”

Ovayo Booi

Ovayo joined iGEMS in her grade 11 year in 2018 and in her matric year she made the decision to withdraw from the program and pursue her pharmaceutical interest when she decided to go and study B Pharm at Rhodes University.

“I trust that you are well and protected during this difficult time. I might have left the programme but I always carry you guys with me. I faced a lot of difficulties last year. At some point I even wanted to quit school because nothing was making sense to me but my goals kept me going. Through all of that I passed my first year with 5/8 distinctions and I got “Dean’s list of Academic Merit.” As I was having a not so good day yesterday, I received an email from the Golden Key Society inviting me to join them. Do you know what that means?? It means I made it to the top 15% in my field of study. I am so proud of myself and I’ll forever be grateful to the Foundation. I went to University knowing well what to expect and how to carry myself because of your teachings. Thank you very much. 

I miss each and every one of you guys. To the first years, O Shame! That’s all I can say. University is hard, very hard but with a positive attitude there’s nothing you cannot do. I love you very much.”

Cursty Adams

Cursty joined the iGEMS program in 2018 as a young lady with a gentle strength. During the COVID-19 lockdown, she had time to reflect and realised that engineering was no longer the best fit for her. She then withdrew from the program and applied to NMU Psychology where she was accepted.

“Being a part of the iGEMS programme has been an amazing experience. One that has altered my life for the better. Many times I would imagine it being like standing at a diverged road. Being at a point where I had to choose between being a focused and hardworking student or just simply be part of the majority. Choosing to join this programme has set me on a path that I do not at all regret. I have grown tremendously from the person I started out as. With a different approach to bettering myself for the years to come.

The visits to big companies in industry has provided me with the insight that nobody my age is fortunate to attain and makes me so much more appreciative.

iGEMS provides its students with maths and science classes to strengthen our grades for the different course in engineering fields but also provides us with leadership sessions that has become our preparation and personal moulding. These sessions has allowed for deep thought processes that has enabled me to think out of the box, allowing me to make logical and well thought out decisions regarding my school and personal life.

Sacrificing weekends with friends and holidays I could have been laying around but I was actually spending that time working towards something great. Building towards a better tomorrow. All this has made me so much more responsible, structured and disciplined because I know how important working towards my future is and the iGEMS programme does too. 

My Phase 2 Year of Work started off a bit rocky as my Grade 12 Maths marks were not high enough to start the H&I journey that was planned for me, I was so disappointed but was lucky enough to be placed in another one of iGEMS member companies, Halden Consulting. I was grateful to have been taken on so last minute and enjoyed my work experience with them. Covid 19 however cut my experience short and with so many others, was sent home. It is during the months spent at home with my younger siblings and granny that I started reassessing my path and questioning if engineering was the best fit for me. I came to the realization that I wanted to be in a nurturing role so I applied and was accepted to do Psychology at NMU. I leave iGEMS with a heavy yet grateful heart. Thank you for giving me the tools I needed to make this decision with confidence.

Below is the introduction to “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. 

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both”

I’ve never been poetic but the words of this poem resonate with me. Thank you iGEMS”

Ovayo Booi

Ovayo joined iGEMS in her grade 11 year in 2018 and in her matric year she made the decision to withdraw from the program and pursue her pharmaceutical interest when she decided to go and study B Pharm at Rhodes University.

“I trust that you are well and protected during this difficult time. I might have left the programme but I always carry you guys with me. I faced a lot of difficulties last year. At some point I even wanted to quit school because nothing was making sense to me but my goals kept me going. Through all of that I passed my first year with 5/8 distinctions and I got “Dean’s list of Academic Merit.” As I was having a not so good day yesterday, I received an email from the Golden Key Society inviting me to join them. Do you know what that means?? It means I made it to the top 15% in my field of study. I am so proud of myself and I’ll forever be grateful to the Foundation. I went to University knowing well what to expect and how to carry myself because of your teachings. Thank you very much. 

I miss each and every one of you guys. To the first years, O Shame! That’s all I can say. University is hard, very hard but with a positive attitude there’s nothing you cannot do. I love you very much.”

Where Did The Money Go?

Funds raised in 2019:

■ Industry
(Member Companies)

■ Trusts & Foundations

■ Private Donors

■ Interest

Funds raised in 2020:

Expenses in 2019:

R1 733 299

■ Administration

■ Staff

■ Other Program Costs

■ Transport and Catering

■ Tutors

Expenses in 2020:

R1 896 930

Funds raised in 2019:

Funds raised in 2020:

■ Industry
(Member Companies)

■ Trusts & Foundations

■ Private Donors

■ Interest

Expenses in 2019:

R1 733 299

Expenses in 2020:

R1 896 930

■ Administration

■ Staff

■ Other Program Costs

■ Transport and Catering

■ Tutors

Thank You

Member companies & sponsors:

Supporting Partners

Your Support Means the World to Us!

We’re constantly inspired by our community of passionate youth, support partners and collaborators, funders, influencers, and member company partners.

You are the reason why we believe we can create future skilled engineering professionals, who possess a strong work ethic and the self-belief to succeed.

With your help, our students are growing stronger than ever! We are so grateful for your time, effort and continued support.

2019 Speakers and Contributors

Linda Lawrie
Ronelle Plaaitjies
Curwyn Mapaleng
Nomqhele Jacqui Baloyi
Nomalungelo Ntlokwana
Kieron Jordaan
Bux Heather
Anita Palmer
Ron Beyer
Damian Mooney
Yanesh Naidoo
Laverne van Wyk
Schaeffler HRM Team Leadership
Nelson Mandela University Engineering Faculty
Tronél Candiotes-Strydom
Michelle Brown
John Lombardo
Waste Trade Company
Dr Ruth Connelly
Eberspacher
Sergioi Ciannotti
WELA

2020 Speakers and Contributors

Zikhona Tywabi-Ngeva
Lulutho Dingiswayo
Chumani Maqina-Managing
Nkululeko Sthabiso Mbatha-Umbako
Lazola Tutani
Raz Dolley
Alan Mthokozisi Nyoni
Val Dovey
Nolubabalo Ngqoba
Mugabe Sepeng
Michelle Brown
Renaldo Miles
Paolo Giuricich
Melvin & Cameron from Yo Media
Damian Mooney
Yanesh Naidoo
Solomzi Nqweni
Associate Professor Brenda Scholtz
Dr Sue Petratos
Vuyo Mdunyelwa
Dr Ann Lourens
Karl du Preez
Howard Theunissen
Alan Roberts
Belinda van der Wat
Quentin Byerley

Our Leadership Team

Board of Trustees

Evan Dold

Chairman

Ruby-Ann Levendal

Deidre Renison

Laverne van Wyk

Staff Members

Berenice Rose

Laurene Booth-Jones (retired 2019)

Babalo Goba

Heidi Campbell

Kate North

Ryan Karshagen (Part-Time)

Loretta Sanderson (Part-Time)

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