In line with its aim to achieve social impact in the areas in which it invests, the Futuregrowth Community Property Fund is funding a bursary for a learner from the Motherwell area to study at the Lawhill Maritime Centre in 2017.
The recipient of the Fund bursary is Lutho Thomas, who entered Grade 10 at the school in 2017. His dream is to become a ship’s captain one day. Shortly after he started at Lawhill (click here to watch their video), Lutho surprised everyone with his musical skills when he played the keyboard at the school’s Valentine’s party. Once he has had some time to settle in to life at the Centre, Lutho has undertaken to visit schools back home in the Motherwell area to talk to other young people about his experiences at Lawhill. It is hoped that this will encourage others like him to broaden their horizons and follow their dreams.
The Lawhill Maritime Centre is located in Simon’s Town and forms part of the local High School. It has been described by Professor Jonathan Jansen as “South Africa’s best-kept secret and a possible solution to the crisis of education and unemployment.”
By introducing young people to the maritime industry in their last three years of secondary schooling, Lawhill aims to:
- Improve the employment prospects of young people, particularly those from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, by providing them with a specialist maritime education while they are still at school.
- Give hard-working young people the opportunity to embark on exciting and potentially lucrative careers in the maritime industry and, in so doing, improve their personal circumstances and those of their families.
- Provide the maritime industry with motivated, quality entrants. A skilled workforce is key to the future sustainability of the maritime industry. This point is significant, given the proximity of Motherwell to the new Coega deepwater port and the low skills levels in the region which stand to prevent the local community from reaping the benefits of this development.
Although it is attached to a government school, Lawhill operates semi-autonomously and relies entirely on grants and donations. In addition to providing instruction in maritime subjects, the Centre provides accommodation for its students, the majority of whom come from townships and informal settlements throughout South Africa.
Lawhill punches way above its weight in terms of achievements and returns on the investment in its students. Despite the disadvantages that life has dealt them, the young people who attend the Centre display an enthusiastic approach to academic work and a positive work ethic. In 2014, two Lawhill students won second place in the South African Young Innovators of the Year competition for inventing the “Hot Nozzle”, a portable solution to cold showers; in 2015, one was listed as one of the Top 200 Rising Young Stars by the “Mail and Guardian”; and in 2016, the pair were invited to attend the Innovator Ecosystems Connector Conference in Botswana.
Since its inception in 1995, more than 300 young South Africans have passed through the Lawhill programme, many of them pursuing successful careers in the maritime industry, both ashore and at sea, while others have gone on to make their mark in other industries.
Forget about going back to bed or going to the mall.
The Lawhill Cycling Team had planned to enjoy a fun day of cycling and neither the strong winds nor the cancellation of the much anticipated Cycle Tour were going to stop them from doing so. After the cancellation of the race, the team took advantage of the closed roads to ride as far as they could up Chapmans Peak before the wind sent them back to Cape Town. An unforgettable experience in unexpected ways!
Click here for more information about the Community Property Fund.