Absa, title sponsors of the Absa Cape Epic, will provide 10 young Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy (DMA) students with invaluable internship opportunities at one of the world’s toughest mountain bike stage races.
Since 2004, Absa has been a proud and active supporter of the DMA, especially in its endeavour to leverage the sport of mountain-biking to provide change and positivity for the indigent youth from Diepsloot.
In partnership with the DMA, and with the assistance of the event organisers and other event sponsors, Absa provided work exposure opportunities to 14 DMA students at the 2016 Absa Cape Epic. Over the last two years the DMA internship programme has been aligned to ReadytoWork, the bank’s pan-African employability initiative aimed at helping young people build the skills they need to make the critical transition from education into the world of work. This forms part of Absa’s commitment to Education and Skills development, one of three key focus areas of its Shared Growth strategy.
This year, Absa is intensifying its commitment to the DMA via comprehensive pre-and-post event workshops that could enhance the prospects of the DMA interns securing further internship opportunities after the Absa Cape Epic.
During the race itself, the DMA interns will gain valuable hands-on work experience under high-pressured circumstances across a number of job sectors including hospitality, bike mechanics, photography as well as marketing and public relations. The overriding objective of these work exposure opportunities at the Absa Cape Epic is to empower the youngsters with the requisite training and support to enhance their employment or self-employment prospects.
Adam Brooke, Sponsorship Manager at Barclays Africa Group Limited, said: “We continuously aim to leverage our various sponsorship properties to generate opportunities that benefit our local communities. The DMA strives to assist the youth in their community and the projects they run are extremely commendable. We are proud to continue our relationship with the DMA through our ReadytoWork programme. Hopefully, we’ll be able to help some of the DMA riders attain their future ambitions.”
Melody Mabudule, a member of the DMA who has just matriculated, will be attending her first Absa Cape Epic this year. She stated: “I have been with the DMA since 2013, participating in cycling classes on Saturdays and attending Mathematics and English classes on Sundays. I am really excited to be a part of this internship programme and look forward to soaking up as much information as I can. I am extremely grateful to Absa and the DMA for this opportunity and will be using everything I learn when I enter the job market.”
The Absa Cape Epic is highly acclaimed within the mountain-biking fraternity but it is in indigent communities such as Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, where Absa is leveraging the race’s global appeal to make a life-changing difference to some of the township’s youngsters.
The 14th edition of the Absa Cape Epic will take place through the tough mountainous terrain of the Western Cape from 19-26 March 2017.
Profiles of some of the DMA interns travelling to the Absa Cape Epic 2017:
• 20-year old Melody Mabudule is originally from Zimbabwe but now lives in Northern Farm in Johannesburg. She has just completed her matric doing subjects such as; History, Life Science and Geography. She joined the DMA in 2013 where she took part in cycling and also attended the Saturday and Sunday classes for Maths and English. She believes that the programme was a great contributor towards her matric year. She previously struggled with Mathematics but the DMA tutors were able to increase her level of confidence and skills in the subject. She hopes that her experience at the Absa Cape Epic will one day help her to assist other young people with cycling and to open her own cycling service business.
• 20-year old Pule Leshevha joined the DMA in 2014 and has since come into his own as an accomplished mechanic. He is extremely driven and motivated and very passionate about all things IT. As part and parcel of this he is currently studying digital marketing. Pule believes that the DMA and Absa have impacted his life in a positive way; they have helped him with his interpersonal skills and provided a positive outlet allowing him to make informed and better life choices. One day he would like to become a software developer working for a major global brand like Microsoft or Apple. Coming from a disadvantaged community and background, his main purpose is to break those barriers and prove that you can achieve anything regardless of where you come from.
• Benny Rakgalakane, 20, would love to build a career for himself in cycling as it is his first love. He joined the DMA programme in 2014, at first focusing solely on cycling but later trying his hand at the mechanical side as he loves fixing bikes. Benny feels that the Computer Centre at the DMA benefits the community in a positive way as it provides an outlet were the kids can study and creates a very productive and healthy working environment. Benny would like to be a successful entrepreneur, and is determined to make a name for himself. He feels that being part of the DMA group travelling to the Absa Cape Epic will provide him with tools to help him achieve his dream of opening his own bike or mobile bike shop.