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With so much unrest surrounding universities lately, positive news regarding our country’s students can seem in short supply.
The launch of the GradStar programme in South Africa seeks to change that, focusing on the immense potential that university students have to bring about change.

The GradStar programme, sponsored by FNB and Fasken Martineau, was set up by BlackBark Productions (creators of the Rising Star Awards) and GradConnection, and matches the country’s best future graduates with potential employers and business mentors. It provides participating employers and the Top 100 graduates access to each other in a uniquely developed programme that focuses on quality connections, and compliments existing employer programmes.

These university students show the best potential as the country’s future leaders, and their assessment throughout the process is conducted by key assessment providers, employers and universities. After receiving thousands of entries from across the country and putting the entrants through a rigorous four-phase judging process, South Africa’s Top 100 university students have been chosen.

The Top 100 students are selected based on leadership criteria and readiness for the workplace, in addition to their academic performance, and the programme culminated in employer workshops with the Top 100, who represent the financial, accounting, IT, engineering and legal disciplines, amongst others.

The list was announced at a Gala Dinner at Wanderers Club, along with the “Ten of the Finest” – the top ten of the group who show the most potential, as judged by the employers.

GradStar 10 of the Finest smaller

The “Ten of the Finest” at the 2016 GradStar Awards.

“I am particularly proud of the GradStar programme for the way it develops our very young talent in South Africa,” says Laura Barker, MD of BlackBark Productions. “The Top 100 will each be connected with a business mentor, who has been recognised through our Rising Star Programme, to further ready them for the workplace. This is a unique and valuable opportunity for each graduate to draw upon the expertise and knowledge of those who have gone before them, and start their careers on a solid foundation.”

The competition process is designed to emulate the process that top employers use to find their future talent, and uses psychometric testing and video interviewing amongst other methods as measurement tools. It allows students to familiarise themselves with the formal graduate programme application process, and enables them to identify their own strengths and weaknesses along the way.

Dr David Molapo, management consultant, educator and well-known motivational speaker, is the patron of the GradStar programme, and sees the initiative as one deserving of the support of employers and educators across South Africa. “This is a worthy programme,” he says. “It is designed to uplift the student youth at this time of unrest, and provide an aspirational platform to assist them in achieving their potential.”
Learning & Development

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