The Chris Buckley Memorial Internship honors the legacy of one of South Africa's leading water & sanitation experts by supporting disadvantaged young people who are seeking a post-graduate career in the professional water sector. This internship provides a cost-of-living stipend to make a mandatory year of in-service training affordable for low-income South African college students, enabling them to complete their higher education and go on to secure well-paid employment in water management.
South Africa needs engineers and technicians to design and implement systems to conserve and manage precious water resources. Decades after apartheid's end, low-income Black students still face significant barriers to entry in these fields. One such barrier occurs in the third year of college engineering studies when students are left on their own to secure mandatory in-service training positions, without financial aid. The economic hardship of this year prevents many students from graduating.
The Umkhumbane Schools Project's Chris Buckley Memorial Internship addresses this problem by providing eligible college students with a cost-of-living stipend to make their in-service year with a USP-vetted firm affordable. Low-income students attending one of two South African technical colleges may apply. The Umkhumbane Schools Project then works with the internship site and with the intern to ensure that the internship year offers a meaningful learning environment and pathway to graduation.
Like other under-resourced communities, the Cato Manor township and informal settlement area of greater Durban, South Africa is experiencing more and more significant setbacks due to climate change. The Buckley Internship project helps ensure that candidates from these impacted communities can gain the skills needed to contribute to South Africa's water and climate change resilience. By increasing Black representation in these fields, the project also enables progress towards racial equity.
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