Maritime school awarded

2018-11-13 06:00
Receiving the big award for Simon’s Town Lawhill Maritime School.

Receiving the big award for Simon’s Town Lawhill Maritime School.

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Simon’s Town School’s Lawhill Maritime Centre staff are patting themselves on the back after they were declared the winner of the 2018 Seatrade Middle East India Africa Education and Training Award.

The awards ceremony, dubbed the Oscars of the maritime industry, were held at the Atlantis Hotel on Palm Island in Dubai.

Tanya Chetty from the centre says they are immensely proud to have won this award. “The award not only recognises the effectiveness of preparing young people for post-matric employment while they are still at school, but also celebrates the valuable partnership we have established with the maritime industry, especially our anchor sponsor, Safmarine, which has supported us since inception 23 years ago. We hope this award inspires other schools and industries to consider a similar model.”

Simon’s Town School’s Lawhill Maritime Centre introduces young people to the maritime industry in their last three years of secondary schooling. Founded in 1995 as a partnership with shipping line Safmarine, now a member of Maersk Line, the largest shipping line in the world, the school is not new to winning awards. Although they are part of a government school, the Lawhill Maritime Centre and maritime studies programme receive no direct government funding; they rely entirely on grants from the shipping industry and donations from supporters.

In 2016 Brian Ingpen of the school won the Maritime Maestro Award (Cape Town). In 2017 they won Maritime Africa Review magazine’s Maritime Newsmaker of the Year and bagged more awards in years before that. They offer two maritime-related subjects – Maritime Economics and Nautical Science – as part of industry-focused education. The main objective of the organisation is to improve the employment prospects of young people, particularly those from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. This is done by providing them with a specialist maritime education while they are still at school, among other things.

This is the only school in South Africa (and Africa) which offers Grade 10 to 12 learners a maritime education with boarding included. “There are other schools in SA but they tend to only one maritime subject, none having a boarding component.

“We are also one of very few examples of schools providing an industry-focused education which is entirely funded by industry. Not only does industry fund our operation, but many of the Grade 12s leaving the programme go straight into learnerships within the industry, or are awarded bursaries for tertiary studies by the industry.

“The vast majority of our students come from financially challenged backgrounds, from townships or informal settlements, and many are from single-parent homes (some are orphans). Despite the disadvantages that life has dealt them, they display a determination to do their best and a most positive work ethic,” she says.

Chetty says they are immensely proud of their alumni’s track record of success.

“We have five qualified master mariners. These students are qualified to command any ship, of any size, anywhere in the world. A further two alumni are due to obtain their master mariner certificates of competency in 2018 among others.

“We are aware of over 400 former students who have entered tertiary studies or careers in the maritime industry after matriculating from the maritime studies programme. In addition to these, we have also had alumni enter university for study in other fields, such as medicine, commerce and law. This makes us really proud and the award tells of the work that we do.”

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