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(South Africa, February 2017) Absa, title sponsors of the Absa Cape Epic, will provide 10 young Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy (DMA) students with invaluable internship opportunities at one of the world’s toughest mountain bike stage races.

Since 2004, Absa has been a proud and active supporter of the DMA, especially in its endeavour to leverage the sport of mountain-biking to provide change and positivity for the indigent youth from Diepsloot.

In partnership with the DMA, and with the assistance of the event organisers and other event sponsors, Absa provided work exposure opportunities to 14 DMA students at the 2016 Absa Cape Epic.  Over the last two years the DMA internship programme has been aligned to ReadytoWork, the bank’s pan-African employability initiative aimed at helping young people build the skills they need to make the critical transition from education into the world of work. This forms part of Absa’s commitment to Education and Skills development, one of three key focus areas of its Shared Growth strategy.

This year, Absa is intensifying its commitment to the DMA via comprehensive pre-and-post event workshops that could enhance the prospects of the DMA interns securing further internship opportunities after the Absa Cape Epic.During the race itself, the DMA interns will gain valuable hands-on work experience under high-pressured circumstances across a number of job sectors including hospitality, bike mechanics, photography as well as marketing and public relations. The overriding objective of these work exposure opportunities at the Absa Cape Epic is to empower the youngsters with the requisite training and support to enhance their employment or self-employment prospects.

Adam Brooke, Sponsorship Manager at Barclays Africa Group Limited, said:  “We   continuously aim to leverage our various sponsorship properties to generate opportunities that benefit our local communities. The DMA strives to assist the youth in their community and the projects they run are extremely commendable. We are proud to continue our relationship with the DMA through our ReadytoWork programme. Hopefully, we’ll be able to help some of the DMA riders attain their future ambitions.”

Melody Mabudule, a member of the DMA who has just matriculated, will be attending her first Absa Cape Epic this year. She stated:  “I have been with the DMA since 2013, participating in cycling classes on Saturdays and attending Mathematics and English classes on Sundays. I am really excited to be a part of this internship programme and look forward to soaking up as much information as I can. I am extremely grateful to Absa and the DMA for this opportunity and will be using everything I learn when I enter the job market.”

The Absa Cape Epic is highly acclaimed within the mountain-biking fraternity but it is in indigent communities such as Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, where Absa is leveraging the race’s global appeal to make a life-changing difference to some of the township’s youngsters.

The 14th edition of the Absa Cape Epic will take place through the tough mountainous terrain of the Western Cape from 19-26 March 2017.

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