The commercial and industrial property industry has long been a male-dominated domain. But this is fast changing, with more and more women making major inroads and many now occupying senior positions.
To assist in accelerating this process, the Women’s Property Network (WPN) was established in 2000 to create a forum for women in the industry to get together, exchange information, develop business contacts and enhance professional success. One of the WPN’s initiatives is a bursary scheme to harness South Africa’s young female potential by developing and exposing tertiary students to the property sector, and developing a pool of young blood in the industry.
Sanett Uys, WPN Chair says: “An ongoing activity of the Educational Trust and the Education portfolio of WPN, has been to provide deserving female students studying towards a property related degree with bursaries to enable them to complete their studies and then enter the commercial property industry such that they can make a meaningful contribution to the industry. In order to sustain the Trust and to be in a position to offer bursaries, WPN has relied on fundraising activities and pledges by members or members’ representing companies. What this has translated into is that bursaries can continue to be offered for the 2012 year”.
Earlier this year, a decision was taken by the Educational Trust Trustees and the WPN Executive to not only offer bursaries to previously disadvantaged students, but also to women in the industry who were studying further. Upon the submission and assessment of all applications, WPN has awarded eight bursaries this year (R15 000 each). Six to students from the various tertiary institutions in South Africa which support a property related degree and two to women already in the industry. Consideration was also given to geographical location and a bursary was awarded to a student from each of the major areas that WPN has chapters in, namely, Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The recipients of this year’s awards are:
· Bonnete Kehupetse who is in her second year BSc Property Studies at UCT.
· Mmabatho Shakoane who is doing BCom Honours Property Valuation and Management at UJ.
· Nokukhanta Nxumalo who is completing her BSc Honours Property Development at UKZN.
· Sumendri Govender also at UKZN but in her third Year BSc Property Development.
· Thando Nhlapho who is studying at UP towards her second year in BSc Real Estate.
The two women who are currently working but studying part time and who have received bursaries are:
· Lee Ann Pillay who is doing her Bcom Honours in Investment Management at UJ
· Mathume Mokobane who is completing her BSc Hounours Land and Property Development at UFS