HIGH school learners from Nelson Mandela Bay who were selected to receive scholarships from the South African National Roads Agency’s SOC Ltd (SANRAL) also had a chance to hear about the bursaries offered by the roads agency.SANRAL has been investing in the development of future leaders by providing the scholarship programme for the past eight years. Nationally, SANRAL had an increase in the beneficiaries of high school scholarships from 172 in 2014/15 to 196 in 2015/16, with a commensurate increase in spending from R2.37 million to R2.99 million.The half-day event was hosted at SANRAL’s award-winning green building in Port Elizabeth on July 29.The event was attended by SANRAL scholarship holders from Grade 10 to Grade 12, their parents, candidates from SANRAL’s Centre of Excellence and senior leaders from SANRAL.The scholarship programme pays for school fees, school uniforms, books and stationery costs. The scholarship also pays for additional mathematics classes at the Nelson Mandela University Missionvale campus where they attend the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Pipeline Project (STEM PP). Speaking at the event were SANRAL’s Centre of Excellence programme managers in training candidates Coenraad Claassens and Lwanda Sigaji. Both are SANRAL bursary recipients.Claassens advised the learners to question why they want to become engineers. “Have a clear picture why you want to be an engineer and hold onto it,” he said. “There is a big jump from high school to university. The workload is a lot different. It took me a year to get used to everything. It is important to remember that you have to get good grades in high school. “ As engineers we solve problems with maths and science.”Alison Adams, who goes to Alexander Road High School, said the SANRAL Scholarship had assisted her through her Grade 11 year tremendously. “I am very grateful. “This has helped us financially. I am not an only child and I was very happy I could take the burden off my parents. I am very grateful for this scholarship”. Adams has been part of the STEM project and discovered the scholarship and applied. “This has motivated me to work so much harder. I make sure that I do my best in these activities and with my grades. If I commit to something, I see it through, that’s my motto. “I am grateful for this event. Before listening to the project engineers in training I was going to pursue a career in science, but I am now considering pursuing a career in civil engineering,” she said.Luzuko Mavela from KwaDwesi also learned about the scholarship through the STEM in Action project. He then applied and was awarded the scholarship. This was inspired by Mavela’s dream to become a chemical engineer or a civil engineer. “This has been a blessing. It has been more than a financial relief for my family. “My parents can now focus their money elsewhere,” he said.“This has pushed me beyond my limits. It has motivated me to pursue my goals head-on. I am involved in a number of activities including: drama and music. I just have to make sure I manage my time well.” Learners can apply for the SANRAL scholarship programme which supports academically deserving applicants in Grades 10 to 12. The minimum requirements are an overall aggregate of 75% with at least 70% in mathematics and science and 65% in English.For more information visit www.nra.co.za.