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(South Africa, 12 April 2016) This weekend, several Absa Pride Riders who took part in the 2016 Absa Cape Epic committed their support to young Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy (DMA) members. As part of Absa’s ongoing support for the DMA, the Absa Pride Riders donated much needed cycling gear and committed to taking the young riders under their wing through a mentorship programme aligned to the bank’s ReadytoWork initiative.

ReadytoWork is Barclays Africa’s pan-African initiative aimed at helping young people build the skills they need to make the critical transition from education into the world of work.Absa has been a proud supporter of the Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy since 2014. Through its continued partnership with the DMA, Absa provided internships to 14 young riders at this year’s Absa Cape Epic.

At this year’s Absa Cape Epic, the DMA interns received training under high-pressured circumstances across career fields such as bike mechanics, concierge services, registration duty and event management. The beneficiaries have no doubt that the experience will enhance their career development.

Barclays Africa employees including Chief Risk Officer Arrie Rautenbach, as well as client representatives agreed to sponsor and mentor young riders from the DMA. Among the client representatives is Nigel Payne, Chairman of the Mr Price Group and a board member at a number of other leading institutions.

Payne committed to sponsoring the DMA’s Lebo Pebane (20) at a number of mountain-biking stage races this year. She will also be mentored through the ReadytoWork programme and assisted with possible internship opportunities.

In addition to the valuable experience Pebane gained as an event co-ordinator while working as an intern at this year’s Absa Cape Epic, she was elated when Payne made the official announcement.

“I am very excited to work with Nigel and am very keen to learn from him as my mentor. I will embrace whatever is thrown my way and absorb as much as possible,” said Pebane.

Barclays Africa’s Arrie Rautenbach, who completed his second Absa Cape Epic this year, committed to a similar initiative.

Ray Wilson, another Absa Pride rider and owner of BH Bikes South Africa, donated 10 mountain bikes with further Absa Pride riders donating cycling kit, shoes, sunglasses and helmets to the DMA. The XLink Learnership programme also committed to mentoring two DMA riders. Absa Pride rider and marketing consultant, Mike Hewan pledged his expertise to the DMA and will be providing DMA with marketing consulting services.

The official handover took place at Northern Farm in Diepsloot on Saturday, 9 April 2016.

Encouragingly, many other Absa Pride Riders have expressed interest in assisting DMA members via the ReadytoWork programme.

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