5 Maties Engineering students amongst GradStar Top 100 most employable students

Five Maties engineering students have excelled by being amongst the Top 100 Most Employable Students in the GradStar Programme. Furthermore, Travis Defty, far right (BEng Mechatronic) was selected as one of the 10 Finest Top Students. The other four are Shahina Patel (MEng Electrical), Newton Mapowo (MEng Engineering Management), Kendrick Mashego (BEng Chemical) and Nicholas Tutt (BEng Mechanical).

Two students of the Stellenbosch University Faculty of Management Sciences, namely Danielle Kruger (BComm Economics and Investments) and Liana Maheso (PDE Transport and Logistics), were also amongst the Top 100.

The GradStar Programme, organised by BlackBark Productions, recognises the Top 100 tertiary students across the country based on leadership qualities and readiness for the workplace. The competition process is designed to emulate the process that top employers use to find their future talent. It allows students to familiarise themselves with the formal graduate programme application process, and enables them to identify their own strengths and weaknesses along the way. There were several thousand entries this year and students go through a rigorous four-phase judging process, which culminates in a day of workshops hosted by potential employers. The final stage of judging, deciding on the “10 of the Finest”, took place in Johannesburg on 19 September 2019.

“I am particularly proud of the GradStar Programme for the way it develops our very young talent in South Africa,” says Laura Barker, MD of BlackBark Productions. “The Top 100 will each be connected with a business mentor, who has been recognised through our Rising Star Programme, to further ready them for the workplace. This is a unique and valuable opportunity for each graduate to draw upon the expertise and knowledge of those who have gone before them, and start their careers on a solid foundation.”

Dr David Molapo, management consultant, educator and well-known motivational speaker, is the patron of the GradStar Programme, and sees the initiative as one deserving of the support of employers and educators across South Africa. “This is a worthy programme,” he says. “It is designed to uplift the student youth at this time of unrest, and provide an aspirational platform to assist them in achieving their potential.”

The judging criteria are:

Grit / Resilience



Team Work & Collaboration

Adaptability & Change Readiness


Trust & Integrity

Emotional Intelligence

Initiative & Problem Solving

Time & Task Management

Visit www.gradstar.com for more information.


 Maties selected amongst the GradStar Top 100 most employable students are from the left: Danielle Kruger, Nicholas Tutt, Shahina Patel, Kendrick Mashego, Liana Maheso and Travis Defty, who was also selected as one of the 10 Finest Top Students. (Absent: Newton Mapowo)