PROFILE: Nelspruit Branch and Agnes Mhlongo, Branch Manager

The Nelspruit Branch has been operating since 2000 and has achieved consistently high matric pass rates and bachelor passes, with a 100% pass rate in 2022 and 96% in 2023.
The branch is located in Nelspruit and tuition takes place at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) campus and online. Sappi, which had been the main sponsor for many years, withdrew at the end of 2021, and since then the branch has been supported by TUT and BUSCOR for transport, as well as National Office.
The branch is in urgent need of another main sponsor to be able to continue enhancing the STEM education of local youth and empowering them to lead productive lives.

Nelspruit Branch hosts 40 learners in Grade 11 and 32 in Grade 12, from six feeder schools within Mbombela region. The tutors are Gift Sawaya (Science), Collen Manganyana (Mathematics), English: Raymond Manoka (English) and Reason Shakoane (World of Work).
Branch Manager, Agnes Mholongo, says two special features of the branch are the commitment by the tutors in ensuring that the learners are being given quality education, and support by parents – two parents volunteered to be members of the board committee in the first meeting of 2024.
A PROTEC alumnus is also a board member, but Agnes believes the alumni can be a lot more involved in the learners’ activities.

About Agnes
Please share your background:
I was born and raised in Mpumalanga in a small town, Kaapmuiden, and then moved to Matsulu where I grew up. I have a National Diploma in Government Finance, and a Higher Diploma in Administration and Management.
What is your history with PROTEC?
I joined PROTEC in 2019. I had previously been working for the government from Administration Clerk up to Senior Manager over 25 years. As Branch Manager, I manage all the branch activities relating to learners and tutors – from recruitment and through performance management. I have good interpersonal skills, which enable me to work with people from different levels and culture.
What is a highlight for you at PROTEC?
In 2022 we achieved a 100% pass rate, despite the challenges we faced through the pandemic and the lockdowns.
Who has inspired you?
My late father. He was passionate with all he did. He was a supportive and loving man, with much integrity. He wanted all his children to at least pass matric.
What advice would you give to youngsters starting in the PROTEC programme?
They must grab the opportunity given as not all students are accommodated in the programme. They must be determined and passionate, and above all, they must be optimistic about making a positive impact on society.

Nelspruit learners on their first day with PROTEC; Nelspruit top 2023 matriculant, Ayanda Shiba

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