A key pillar for social and economic upliftment is education, as well as being an important measurement on the B-BBEE scorecard. “Supporting education initiatives is a main part of our social responsibility programme,” comments Esther Seabi, Sustainability Director at FUCHS Lubricants South Africa.
“We actually have two schemes, one through the Fuchs Foundation Trust and the other for the company. The purpose of both is to provide financial support to students in need.” The criteria for acceptance are academic performance and financial need, as well as the relevance of the studies to the company and the industry.
The Fuchs Foundation Trust was established to promote socio-economic transformation by empowering economically marginalised individuals and communities. The trust, in turn, sponsors individuals and community projects.
Seabi explains that, instead of a fixed number of beneficiaries, FUCHS allocates a yearly budget distributed between the successful applicants. Applications close at the end of the preceding year in December, with disbursements finalised in early February.
“Although we do not exclude any fields of study, we do prioritise awards on relevance to us and the industry’s need for certain skills,” says Seabi. “We also aim to give bursars an opportunity for vacation work during their studies and, upon completion, work experience in the form of learnerships, internships or apprenticeships.”
Skills prioritised by the company at present range from chemical to mechanical engineering and even commercial subjects such as finance, human resources and supply chain management.