The Engen Computer School has been transforming lives in South Durban for 13 years and is fast approaching 2 500 graduates who have had their prospects of finding employment enhanced after receiving the basic computer skills training offered by the school.
At an awards ceremony on 25 February, Engen celebrated the graduation of 47 more South Durban residents, taking the sum of people to have successfully completed the training to 2 367 since the Engen Computer School’s inception in 2009.
The Engen Computer School offers members of the South Durban community introductory-level computer skills training, which cover 8-unit standards of the National Certificate: Information Technology: End User Computing.
The recent graduates, who enrolled in October 2021, are all excited to put their newly acquired computer skills into practice, and were congratulated by Sykry Hassim, the General Manager of the Engen Refinery.
“The latest 47 graduates all deserve a big round of applause for their effort,” comments Hassim.
“At Engen, we believe that continuous community upskilling will ensure resilience and readiness in today’s everchanging and demanding new digital world.”
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Engen Computer School has put stringent safety protocols in place, including reducing the class size from 80 to 60 students to allow for social distancing.
Students are then further split into two groups, with regular equipment sanitization, mask wearing at all times, social distancing and the installation of Perspex screens.
“The direct impact of Covid-19 has unfortunately broadened the inequality and digital skills gap in South Africa, which makes Engen’s role in helping to bridge the digital divide and help facilitate the sustainable development of our communities now more important than ever,” adds Hassim.
Comments course convener and training director, Sheryl Casalis: “We are proud of all our graduates who have had to endure through these challenging times and look forward to welcoming the next group of students.”
Well-known in the local community and frequently boasting a waiting list, Engen Computer School course applicants must be unemployed school-leavers who reside in South Durban and want to upskill themselves.
While matric and age criteria are not prescribed, most students who attend the school are aged from 20 to 40.
“The Engen Computer School has a proud history of giving graduates the knowledge and confidence to go out and seek jobs that would otherwise have been beyond their reach,” continues Hassim.
“As a caring and responsible company, Engen is humbled to play a small role in positively changing lives of community members who reside in an area close to the Engen Refinery.”
Engen is also a long-time supporter of education in Durban through its Engen Maths and Science Schools (EMSS), which seek to address South Africa's key skills shortages in the engineering and technical fields, thereby contributing to the economic growth and transformation of the country.
In KwaZulu-Natal, the EMSS programme offers additional Maths, Science and English tuition every Saturday to under-privileged learners from grades 10-12 at Fairvale High School, Ganges High School, Howard College, and Mangosuthu University of Technology.
Operating for over 30 years, the EMSSs measure of success is an annual matric class that consistently surpasses the national average of successful learners and learners who matriculate with a bachelor’s pass.