From education to employment

NKC students win the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to South Africa and build a school in a week.

Several North Kent College construction students have won the chance to help build a school in just one week in South Africa, courtesy of UK charity Mellon Educate and all funded by local business entrepreneur Mark Lindop.

Mellon Educate is an Irish-based African development charity founded by developer & philanthropist Niall Mellon. Since 2002 the charity, thanks to the enormous collective effort of some 25,000 volunteers, in conjunction with the South African government, has built houses for 125,000 homeless people in Africa’s poorest townships.

Each volunteer has to raise £4,000 in order to participate, but Mark Lindop, a Kent based volunteer, has kindly supported three students from North Kent College by covering all their costs.

The three lucky winners are Nancy Ford, Kavan Swain and Cameron Martin. Runner up, Joseph Appleby will be fundraising in order to raise sufficient funds to take part also.

Nancy Ford, a winning student commented “I am very excited about this experience and can’t wait to go out there. I applied for this to better myself and learn more trades. By building the school the children out there in South Africa will get to have chances through education just like I have”.

The College hosted a competition to find two students who best demonstrated how their construction skills could change young lives in South Africa and bring education and all its benefits to 100s of children. After an initial application round, the final was held at North Kent College’s Gravesend campus. 10 finalists were interviewed by a panel, and were judged on a variety of factors including motivation, knowledge, passion and persuasiveness.

Mark Lindop was part of the judging panel, and after hearing each applicants pitch, he was so impressed by the quality of applicants that he felt he had to increase his sponsorship from the original 2 to 3 winners.
Mark Lindop commented “I have seen first hand how much the underprivileged South African children benefit from the work the charity does and how much pleasure and satisfaction the volunteers get out of their trip. I thought it would be a good idea to sponsor some construction students from my local area to come along and gain the same wonderful experience”.
The all-expenses paid, opportunity of a lifetime will bring a host of benefits to the students, not only improving their employability skills and work experience, but offers them the chance to build relationships with other like-minded volunteers, the local South African communities and experience life on a different continent.

Students will gain exposure to multiple trades, hands on experience in their own field of study, and general life skills experience in the form of pitching skills, interview techniques and presenting styles.

Mark Andrews, Assistant Principal Business, Construction & Engineering, “I am delighted for these 3 young people who, through the generosity of Mark Lindop and his work with Mellon Educate, have the opportunity of a lifetime to acquire new skills, expand their cultural horizons and to really make a difference for the educationally disadvantaged children of Cape Town. I was humbled and genuinely inspired by the passion and commitment that the winners demonstrated in their pitches to us”.

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