Total South Africa renews its partnership with Wits University to help address skills shortages

The recently signed agreement document signifies an undertaking to assist selected candidates with student bursaries that will cover full tuition and textbooks for the duration of their studies.

The agreement is one of many initiatives employed by Total South Africa to address the scarce skills shortage in South Africa. Recent statistics indicate that there is a significant skills shortage in the fields of medicine, engineering and other key sectors that drive the development of a country.

“We recognise that skills development is essential for South Africa’s economic growth. We are thus committed to work in unison with government, the private sector and institutions of higher learning such as Wits University to assist in alleviating the skills gap and to provide our youth with the chance of a better future through our bursaries and various other education initiatives,” explains Total South Africa’s managing director and CEO, Christian des Closières.

This year, Total South Africa has selected five students to receive full scholarship bursaries at Wits, in a variety of fields. Upon completion of their studies the company offers selected students the opportunity to embark on an internship programme at Total South Africa where valuable practical expertise and on the job training are offered.

In addition, Total will host a delegation of South African students and senior educators at an annual Summer School for a week long programme in July in Paris. The delegation will attend one of the Energy Seminars organised by the Total Group.

“Total funds professors who teach two relevant courses as part of the masters in the Petroleum Engineering programme at Wits University. The company has also supported our staff and students by sponsoring an educational trip to Paris which is aimed at advancing knowledge in the field of petroleum, oil and gas production,” says Professor Sunny Iyuke, Head of the Wits School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering.

Academics from the Total Professors Association (TPA) have also been involved in the teaching of the geology and geophysics honours programmes from as far back as 2005.

“We appreciate the long-term commitment by the TPA as it provides the School with an opportunity to broaden our students’ learning experience and knowledge by giving them access to top-level professors with extensive experience in the petroleum industry. As the leading geosciences teaching department in Africa with a strong focus on applied geosciences, the School is committed to this partnership and to meeting the training needs of our continent,” adds Professor Roger Gibson, Head of the Wits School of Geosciences.