Learners offered opportunity of a lifetime


To: All Media
For immediate release       
Date: 27 February 2015


Sixty SAPREF learners who have completed their artisan training in boiler making, welding and mechanical fitting through the Durban South Training Trust will be graduating today with approximately twenty of them having already found employment. These learners are part of SAPREFs multimillion rand skills development programme benefiting more than 350 youngsters.

The SAPREF skills development programme includes bursaries for university studies in engineering, learnerships at SAPREF’s accredited training college and the Durban South Training Trust (DSTT), internships and a talent pipeline project to introduce grade 10 learners to oil refining.

“Through this integrated programme, SAPREF aims to play its part in addressing the shortage of technical and engineering skills in the country while addressing our own business need for highly skilled professionals”, said Lindiwe Khuzwayo, SAPREF’s Human Resources Manager. “The skills programme is part of a broader social responsibility programme through which we aim to make a meaningful contribution to neighbouring communities, to our industry and to the country,” she added.

According to Khuzwayo, seventeen Grade 10 pupils were accepted into the SAPREF School Talent Pipeline programme, an initiative which aims to introduce grade 10, 11 and 12 high school learners to SAPREF and to career possibilities in oil refining.  Each learner receives R5000 towards their school fees as well as the assistance of a SAPREF mentor to guide and support them through the last three years of school. Life skills training is also part of the package. In total SAPREF have 47 learners on this programme. Upon completion of matric, pupils who aspire to study engineering then compete for SAPREF university bursaries.

Three of the 2014 talent pipeline matriculants are currently studying engineering through the SAPREF Bursary Scheme, which covers their university tuition fees, residence fees, books, meals, a laptop and a monthly living allowance. In addition, all bursary holders qualify for vacation work at SAPREF, allowing students the opportunity to supplement their theoretical knowledge with practical experience.

Darrian van der Haar, a previous talent pipeline student and now a SAPREF bursary holder, says being part of the various SAPREF skills development programmes over the last seven  years has been an eye-opener. “With the financial burden alleviated, I am able to pursue my dream of being an engineer without much stress. I have also been exposed to SAPREF’s operations through my SAPREF mentor and through vacation work which has been a great experience, one that I hope to build on as a SAPREF employee on completion of my studies,” he says.

In addition to the bursary programme, 94 youngsters have been accepted into the SAPREF learnership programme were lectures are supplemented with extensive on-the-job-training. Trainees on this programme are made up of learners who have come straight from matric, those who have come from FET colleges and those who are doing in-service training, having completed their studies at universities of technology.

Between the three programmes, it is a total investment of R17million in further education and training of KwaZulu-Natal youngsters.

Added to these, 66 trainees are doing their internship at SAPREF, with an existing 146 learners within the SAPREF system. Many of the former graduates of the programme are also now forging successful careers at SAPREF.

SAPREF Managing Director Ton Wielers said: “We anticipate that our own requirements and industry’s need for skilled operators and engineers will grow in the next few years, hence continued commitment to learnership programmes.”


For more information please contact:
Cindy Govender
Communications Manager
Tel: 031 480 1999

For information of editors:


  •  SAPREF is Southern Africa’s largest crude oil refinery.
  • It is jointly owned by Shell SA Refining and BP Southern Africa.
  • We are located in Prospecton, Durban.
  • We make a variety of petroleum products, including petrol, diesel, paraffin, aviation fuel, marine fuel oil and many others. 
  •  We have approximately 700 employees 
  • We are proudly a level 2 BBBEE contributor and are ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified.