Maritime foundation education continues to draw industry support

Sub-Saharan region maritime industry services group, Subtech South Africa confirms sponsorship of bursaries for maritime high school pupils

Pretoria: 18 May 2016

LENDING A HAND: Subetch South Africa officials, Mr Rudolph Punt and Ms Mandy McGuire (Subtech) with the pupils Gershwyn Poole, Siyamthanda Vuyelwa and Phaphama Kepu who were recently awarded bursaries at Lawhill High School
LENDING A HAND: Subtech South Africa officials, Mr Rudolph Punt and Ms Mandy McGuire with the pupils Gershwyn Poole, Siyamthanda Vuyelwa and Phaphama Kepu who were recently awarded bursaries at Lawhill High School

South Africa’s maritime sector education, training and skills development continues to draw support from a growing network of contributors as efforts gain traction towards transformation and integration of the sector into the country’s mainstream economy.

This became evident once more recently after Subtech South Africa awarded three Grade 12 Lawhill Maritime Centre pupils at Simonstown full bursaries for the 2016 education year.

The three youths are Siyamtanda Vuyelwa and Phaphama Kepu – both from the Eastern Cape, and Gershwyn Poole from the Western Cape.

Just above the Simonstown harbour stands the Lawhill Maritime Centre, originally a foundational level education centre specializing in maritime economy sector subjects, and now poised to also possibly offer specialized in-service training also to teachers.
Just above the Simonstown harbour stands the Lawhill Maritime Centre, originally a foundational level education centre specializing in maritime economy sector subjects, and now poised to also possibly offer specialized in-service training also to teachers.

Subtech SA, a sub-Saharan region marine industry services group based in Durban, said it readily offered to support the youths after establishing their high level of interest in maritime studies.

“What binds these three kids and Subtech is a passion for all things maritime! We look forward to monitoring their progress over 2016 and wish them well for their Matric Year,’ said the company in a statement. It said the bursaries would cover both school and hostel fees, allowing the enthusiastic group of youths to continue with their maritime studies.

Subtech SA described Lawhill’s maritime studies programme – featuring maritime economics and nautical sciences – as being “one of only a very few examples of a specific industry playing a role, at secondary school level, in providing industry-focused education which improves the school leaver’s chances of finding employment.”

“The programme,” said Subtech SA: “is aimed at stimulating maritime awareness among young people, attracting them to the shipping industry and providing the industry with high quality, skilled and knowledgeable employees.

“Because the Lawhill Maritime Centre receives no state funding, its students – the majority of whom come from financially-stressed homes – are reliant on bursaries provided by the maritime and related industries to fund their education from Grade 10 to 12.”

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is among business and related institutions that also sponsor children at Lawhill Maritime Centre.

EDUCATING SAILORS: SAMSA Centre for Maritime Excellence executive manager Ms. Sindiswa Nhlumayo (third from Right), and (From Left) SAMSA skills development manager John Phiri; Centre for Maritime Excellence executive PA, Charity Bodiba and SAMSA human resources executive manager Ms. Lesego Mashishi with Lawhill Maritime Centre students sponsored by SAMSA during a visit in August 2015. SAMSA is to increase the number of youths at high school for the 2016 school year.
EDUCATING SAILORS: SAMSA officials, former Centre of Maritime Excellence, the late Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo (3rd from Right) and (From Left); Skills Development Manager John Phiri; Centre for Maritime Excellence executive PA, Charity Bodiba and SAMSA human resources executive manager Ms. Lesego Mashishi with Lawhill Maritime Centre students sponsored by SAMSA during a visit in August 2015.

SAMSA, encouraging and collaborating closely with a range of stakeholders across public and private sectors in promoting maritime sector education, training and skills development as a core competence to the sector’s growth and transformation, has since 2013 supported as many as 65 foundational level pupils from across the country keen on pursuing maritime studies at the Simons Town education institution, inclusive of a total 16 pupils currently, involving an investment for the period of just over half-a-million rand.

Similar support is extended to tertiary level students predominantly at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Durban University of Technology, both of which offer tailored studies and skills development courses on maritime economy.

*Meanwhile, scores of pupils at the Eastern Cape’s first and newest maritime high schools in East London continue to get support and exposure from the country’s maritime sector with a view to enhancing their interest and knowledge of the sector.

20160514_134228This past weekend, the pupils from George Randall and Ngwenyathi High Schools, were bused to Port Elizabeth for a day and taken onboard the country’s research vessel, the SA Agulhas II shortly after its return from a research expedition in the Antarctica region.

The two Eastern Cape high schools began formally this year to offer dedicated classes for maritime studies, featuring maritime economics and nautical sciences.

A month ago, pupils from the schools were among guests of President Jacob Zuma during his delivery of his annual report on Operation Phakisa, also in Port Elizabeth.

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