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BP increases education investment

- By Wits University

 BP Southern Africa (BP SA) through the newly established BP Southern Africa Education Foundation Trust recently awarded scholarships to 19 students to pursue studies in the fields of Engineering, Science and Commerce at Wits. 

The students were drawn from a pool of learners who were part of the Targeting Talent Programme (TTP). The TTP is a partnership between Wits and BP SA which helps learners from disadvantaged backgrounds bridge the gap between high school and university through a holistic three-year programme.

The scholarship fund valued at R3.1 million for 2015 will cover tuition, accommodation, text books and a monthly stipend. Students will also benefit from mentoring and coaching by academics, professionals and other students in their field of study. 

The BP SA Education Foundation Trust is an independent broad-based trust, the object of which is the advancement of black people and people with disabilities through education and skills development. This integrates with and complements BP SA’s existing Community, Social Investment (CSI) and Skills Development strategy.

Speaking at the Scholarship Award Ceremony, Thandi Orleyn, Chairman of BP SA, highlighted the company’s long term skills and career development agenda. She also mentioned that many of her generation will live vicariously through the students as these opportunities were not easily available in the past. “We see you young people as future leaders and we want to bask in your successes, so I urge you to make the most of this opportunity,” she added. 

The scholarship fund will contribute to alleviating the plight of some young people who leave school and cannot further their studies due to lack of funding. This was further expanded upon by Professor Andrew Crouch, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Wits University, who addressed the students and commented that, “TTP has set all of you on a good stead, and the university will stand firmly behind you throughout this next chapter of your academic journey. I am also delighted that BP has partnered with us, the company’s generous support will help you achieve your dreams.”

The BPSA Education Foundation Trust will provide funding for the scholarship recipients for the duration of their respective degrees.

Additional info:

  • BP Southern Africa (BPSA), one of the oldest companies operating in South Africa for over 90 years, completed a major Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) transaction with two new BEE investors in November 2014, as part of its continued commitment to meaningful transformation in the country.
  • BP South Africa (BPSA) sold 25% 1 share to two BEE partners, namely KAPELA and the BPSA Education Foundation, a Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Trust.
  • The Kapela BEE consortium includes the Disability Empowerment Concerns Trust, which is a majority black  broad based trust with over two million people with disabilities as beneficiaries (at least 85% are black and 50% are women), as well as a majority black owned and managed private equity firm.  Kapela acquired a 20% 1 share and the BPSA Education Foundation acquired 5% of BPSA’s shares.
  • BP has committed R105-million over a six year period to support the TTP