12 Mar OZblu Academy boosts education in agriculture with R2 million (circa $150 000) worth of bursaries
Perth, March 2019 – OZblu Academy, a subsidiary of United Exports, has granted bursaries to the value of R2 million (circa $150 000) to eight students from various educational institutions in South Africa, as part of its commitment to agriculture and transformation in South Africa.
Says Roger Horak, global CEO of United Exports and co-founder of OZblu: “Within the current socio-economic climate, it is important for United Exports to take the lead and support young graduates though a bursary programme and by creating employment opportunities in a sustainable way. We took special care in choosing these eight candidates and are confident that we will be able to support them throughout their educational journey.” The bursary programme falls under United Exports’ OZblu Academy.
Two of the candidates chosen are from the Cape Town University of Technology, and the rest of them from the University of Limpopo, the Madzivhandila College of Agriculture (also in Limpopo), the University of North West, the University of KwaZulu Natal, the University of Pretoria and the Boston City Campus in Cape Town.
The students will also have the opportunity to conduct research on one of OZblu’s farms within South Africa, as well as having the opportunity to work on an OZblu farm for a period of twelve months as part of their studies.
“As a company and responsible corporate citizen, United Exports acknowledges and shares in the country’s agenda of transformation and socio-economic development. We strive to consistently achieve a good return on investment for our shareholders and seek to empower our employees and ultimately their families, as well as the communities within which we conduct our business,” says Horak.
As one of the pioneers in agricultural education in South Africa, United Exports created the OZblu Academy a year ago, to support the rapid growth of their low chill blueberry varieties. The demand for new varieties within the category far outweighs supply. This institution is core to the company’s strategy of transformation and sustainability, says Horak.
“Through the OZblu Academy, we hope to become the benchmark in the South African agricultural industry for work on sustainability, the environment and transformation specifically in the blueberry commodity of the agriculture industry. The OZblu Academy focuses on education on many levels.”
Emily Hendricks and Rowen Markie recently joined the group and are leading the OZblu Academy’s initiatives. The critical areas of focus are strategy, sustainable business practices, corporate social responsibility, transformation, community projects and diversity. This will be applied at a business level and in the local community which is supporting the farming operation with staffing.