Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) today announced the award of scholarships to eight students to pursue university degrees at the University of Zambia (Unza) starting from the 2017 academic calendar.
In a press release to Lusaka Times KCM Manager Public Relations and Communications Shapi Shachinda noted that the company’s Learning and Development Manager Rodgers Kayombo, said the scholarship represents KCM’s continued commitment to promoting education in its areas of operations.
Mr Kayombo pointed out that KCM will spend over $650,000 in the 2017/18 financial year on sponsorship for students in local and international higher learning institutions.
He said the KCM scholarship programme is part of the company’s long term strategy to develop manpower needed to bridge the skills gap in the mining industry. Every year KCM provides A-Level education to top performers in Grade 12 examinations. Upon successful completion of the programme, students are offered university scholarships.
“It is KCM’s focus to create a strong reservoir of skilled labour to continue to support the growth of the mining industry and the economy of Zambia. We hope the students will in the near future contribute positively to the growth of the company,” Mr Kayombo said.
The company is currently supporting 65 students pursuing degrees in medicine, mining, geology, metallurgy, and other engineering courses at the University of Zambia, University of Pretoria in South Africa, Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) in India and the University of Namibia.
The scholarships cover tuition fees, living and accommodation allowances and other related fees and allowances for purchase of books, equipment, and for projects.
After graduating, all students will be employed by KCM and placed on a two year Graduate Development Programme which will expose them to management skills in the operations.
A beneficiary, Kennedy Mwila of Chingola’s Kapisha Township, said he is surprised that KCM has taken up the full responsibility to educate him.
The 19-year old raised by a single mother, working as a maid, after the death of his father before he turned five said life had been very hard for his family.
“I am very excited and I thank God and KCM for coming to my rescue, it’s like a miracle,” Kennedy said after receiving full sponsorship to study at the UNZA in the School of Natural Sciences.
KCM has sponsored over 600 people, including some employees, to study at various institutions at home and abroad since 2007 in a bid to plug a skills gap and also to plough back into local communities through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).