< Return To Blog

The Steve Cockeram Bursary

May 23, 2024

An interview with Dr Liam Terblanche, Chief Technology Officer, Airvantage

What inspired you to start this bursary program?
The inspiration for this bursary program came from a desire to honour the memory and legacy of a cherished team member, Steve Cockeram, who passed away in 2020.

Can you share the history?
Steve was a cornerstone of our development team for four years. After his untimely passing, we wanted to celebrate his contributions and spirit by establishing a bursary in his name, specifically aimed at supporting women in the ICT sector.
With approval from our executives, we reached out to the Gauteng Department of Education, which allowed us to connect with underprivileged secondary schools in the Vaal Triangle. These schools nominated some of their standout computer science students, and after a thorough interview process, we awarded The Steve Cockeram Bursary to Dimakatso Mohata. Dimakatso started her studies in 2021 and proudly graduated earlier this year.

What organisational goals do you aim to achieve through this bursary?

Our goals are more cultural than organisational. We aim to give talented individuals an opportunity while reminding ourselves that we are part of something greater. This bursary reinforces the sense of family within our company and ensures that our legacy endures.

Can you describe the application and selection process?
Computer science teachers from the selected schools are invited to send us motivation letters for their top students. We then conduct interviews to select the most promising candidate.

What are your expectations from the bursary recipients during and after their education?

We expect bursary recipients to complete a 3-4 year work-back period with our R&D team at Airvantage. During this time, they undergo a comprehensive induction and mentorship program to fully integrate into our team.

How do you track the progress and success of the bursary recipients?
Our induction program includes a strict curriculum with defined milestones and periodic assessments. These evaluations cover various skills such as database competence, containerisation, software engineering, data mediation, and Linux proficiency.

How do you see the role of the bursary evolving in the next 5-10 years?
Ideally, we would like to expand the program to support a new candidate every year, contingent on our budget. This would allow us to continually nurture new talent without waiting for the current recipient to complete their studies.

What can the recipients do to maximise the benefits of the bursary?

To maximise the benefits, recipients are paired with a 'buddy' - a senior software engineer who provides guidance, support, and insights throughout their projects.

How has sponsoring this bursary impacted your organisation?
Sponsoring this bursary has allowed us to bring a highly talented young graduate into our team, enriching our organisation with fresh perspectives and skills.

What has been the most rewarding part of sponsoring this bursary?

The most rewarding part has been sharing updates of Dimakatso's progress with Steve's mother and seeing his legacy live on through this program. It is a powerful reminder of the lasting impact one person can have on many lives.

Recent Posts
< Return To Blog
Get in Touch with Us for a Free Gap Analysis