Subtech Continues Developing and Supporting South Africa’s Youth
In 1995 Subtech was borne as a small commercial diving company working in the Port of Durban, South Africa. From these humble beginnings as a 3-man operation with one boat, it has evolved over the last 23 years to a Group of Companies which provide specialist maritime services globally. However, while the history of Subtech is nothing short of a modern-day business fairy-tale, this is not the case for many young South African’s looking to enter the maritime industry. This is why it is so important for Subtech, as a leader in the industry, to ensure that we develop initiatives that support South Africa’s youth.
Over the last three years the Group, in partnership with TETA (Maritime Chamber), has been at the forefront of developing a Diver Development Training Programme that encourages the development of black South African commercial divers through the provision of a 12 month experiential learning period. The overall aim of this programme is to build capacity in a career that has long been dominated by white males. Following the success of our 2016/2017 programme that assisted 8 newly qualified class 3 divers, the initiative was extended for another year. On the 3rd of July 2018, another 6 Class 3 Commercial Divers were selected to join the Subtech Inshore Diving Division for a twelve month period. During this time each trainee is actively involved in the Company’s diving operations thereby allowing them to gain much needed on-the-job training and experience.
2018 has also seen the continuation of other youth initiatives with Lawhill Maritime Centre and the Subtech Imbokodo Trust. As part of Subtech’s ongoing SED partnership with Lawhill, the Group has sponsored a year’s tuition for Grade 10 student, Yola Mphi. The Subtech Imbokodo Trust, which is aimed at changing the maritime world one bursary at a time, identified another deserving bursary holder in Xola Lisa Pottelwa. Xola is currently enrolled at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) where she is studying Shipping and Logistics. In 2017 she passed all her subjects with distinctions and was awarded a TETA bursary for 2018. However, she was not able to register for 2018 as she had outstanding fees from 2017. The Trust has paid her outstanding 2017 fees so as to enable her to take up the TETA bursary for this year.
2018 also saw the Group supporting two new initiatives, one with DUT and the other with Media Works in Richards Bay. In 2017 the Department of Maritime Studies at DUT launched a sailing club for its students and sent requests out to the industry for support. Subtech saw this as an opportunity to encourage a passion for the maritime industry that extends beyond the classroom, and thus made a donation that enabled 6 students to complete their day skipper qualifications. Media Works is a leader in the provision of Adult Education and Training (AET) throughout South Africa, with a specialised focus on disadvantaged learners. Due to the nature of the maritime industry and the safety requirements, people with disabilities are excluded from taking on operational positions. However, empowering these learners with the necessary business skills to give them the opportunity to enter the industry in a different manner, will ensure a sustainable transformative change in South Africa and the industry. To this end, Subtech sponsored seven previously disadvantaged, unemployed and disabled learners, from a rural community in Richards Bay to take part in a 10-week programme focussing on communication and mathematical literacy.
Subtech remains committed to developing and nurturing the skills of South African youth in the maritime sector as a part of our ongoing commitment to Operation Phakisa and the Ocean’s Economy. We look forward to playing a positive role in the lives of many more youngsters – As Diogenes once said “the foundation of every state is the education of its youth.”