In 2010, Konica Minolta South Africa (KMSA) launched a bursary initiative called the Life Starter programme. The concept was to identify grade nine students who were interested in a career in the IT sector and then provide a three year schooling bursary to the successful candidate, along with the promise of employment after school.
Initially, five branches were asked to participate, including the Port Elizabeth (PE) branch. To find suitable prospects, the PE branch formed a Life Starter committee, which decided to approach the principals of local technical schools and garner their input and recommendations. Two schools, namely Alexander Road High School and Newton Park Technical High School, were approached as they offered subjects in line with the base skills set that was required.
Timothy Paulsen was chosen as the best candidate for the Life Starter Bursary. The bursary, which is funded by Konica Minolta South Africa, included school fees, a school uniform, stationery, as well contributions towards extra mural activities for the 2012 to 2014 school years.
After his studies, Timothy started working as a trainee technician at the PE branch in January 2015 and immediately proved the value of the training path he had followed. He is already viewed as an important asset to the Service Department. His responsibilities include repairs, setting up of new devices, as well as refurbishing pre-owned devices in the workshops.
But this is not the end of his learning journey. He has already achieved 100 percent in the associate level in KMIT (Konica Minolta Business Technologies – Japan) web based learning and he is currently studying towards the professional level. Furthermore Timothy has been enrolled in the IT – Technical Support Learnership Programme to be held in Johannesburg, which is due to start later this year. Once this training has been completed, Timothy will be responsible for the IT Helpdesk Software support at the PE branch.
‘I would like to thank Konica Minolta South Africa for giving me this opportunity to fulfil my dream. It was an honour to obtain the bursary and it gave me a sense of pride knowing that I was selected from a group of other learners. I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands, even as a toddler I enjoyed playing with blocks and puzzles. When I was introduced to computers, I became very interested and wanted to know more about technology. The bursary took a lot of the financial pressure off from my parents, which was a huge blessing,’ said Timothy Paulsen.
‘Additionally, being given the opportunity to work and study is such an advantage, I am doing theory and practical which I enjoy. I know of many people who have studied but cannot find work in their field of qualification. Going forward, I want to continue to work for Konica Minolta South Africa, being an asset to the company, being a loyal employee and contributing to the growth and progress of the company.
‘More than his academic qualifications, it is Timothy’s pleasant manner that makes him such an asset to the Port Elizabeth Branch. We are grateful to his parents and teachers for instilling such a great attitude and for raising such a well-balanced individual. I am quite sure that Timothy will go on to do big things and become a future leader within Konica Minolta South Africa. The Life Starter programme is phenomenal and Timothy is testament to its success,’ said Warren Diakos, Port Elizabeth branch manager at KMSA.