In conversation with Patrick Wells, Managing Director of STC Southern Africa. Patrick, responsible for STC’s training centers in Cape Town and Durban and all activities in Southern Africa, elaborates on his work.
Exceeded records with 11,300 students
“We focus on maritime and offshore training for any type of vessel that someone wants to work on at sea. Think of a yacht, super yacht, passenger ship, any type of merchant ship from container to gas, oil rigs, or even ships just operating in port limits. Every week 250 to 350 students participate in training with us. In total, that’s about 11,300 this year alone. Quite a number, right? We’ve topped all our records this year since 2017. We are very proud of that.
Safety over numbers at all times
“Our student numbers have grown and grown, but we cannot compromise on safety” Patrick continues. “If someone goes out to sea and your training is substandard, someone is at great risk of serious injuries or even losing their life, as well as creating risks for others onboard and we certainly don’t want that to be on our head. We want to prepare people properly at all costs. We focus on providing the best standard of maritime training within the region.”
Meaningful projects with great impact
Patrick is involved in both international and local projects. For example, he has previously worked on projects in Tanzania, as well as further afield in Israel and Kazakhstan. He likes to share, as he himself calls it a ‘very cool project’ from his home-base Cape Town. “We’ve got three projects running at the moment with the help of the National Skill Fund (NSF)”. The NSF provides funding for national skills development to support South African citizens with personal development to enable employment opportunities which contributes to improved economic participation and overall social upliftmentment. “This is very cool because, in our case, this type of funding gives fantastic opportunities to kids who don’t have the financial means to get trained as seafarers and to be able to work on ships at sea”, he continues.
Providing sustainable opportunities
“We are currently training 420 seafarers in the fishing industry, so they can keep their certification and continue to earn a living and many of them are the only breadwinner in their families. If they lose their jobs, they lose their homes and really end up on the streets. For us, it’s super exciting to bring that sustainability and to offer these opportunities” continues Patrick. “STC-SA has become the go-to place for these types of projects. Through our perseverance in maintaining our high standards of training, we have been recognized by the South African Maritime Safety Authority who regularly recommend STC-SA as the preferred training organisation in South Africa.
We change lives
“We pair our students with placement agencies for an interview to then get a letter of intent for employment. We know, if they come to us with this letter and pass their courses and medical examinations, that they will be hired. I think it’s one of our biggest wins, almost everyone who comes into our training center ends up with a job. For many people we have trained, we have been able to really change their lives. The stories we get back when we see them again and hearing the say, ‘Thank you, you’ve made such a difference, not only for me, but for my family’. That’s why we get up at five in the morning to go to work”, concludes Patrick his story.
Did Patrick’s story inspire you and would you like to learn more or contribute to our work? Feel free to get in touch via email@example.com.