Sappi Bursaries

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Sappi offers a number of comprehensive bursaries to candidates looking to pursue studies in fields relevant to the paper industry.

Sappi Limited, officially incorporated as South African Pulp and Paper Industries Limited, is a South African-based company specialising in the production and processing of a wide variety of wood pulp and paper products. Over more than 80 years, the company has risen to become a large-scale producer within South Africa, with strong contributions to the country’s infrastructure and economy, and has also expanded its operations to locations elsewhere in the world.

Sappi’s history can be dated back to the end of 1936, when the company was founded under its full original name. This name was soon abbreviated to SA Pulp, and later became known simply as ‘Sappi’. The following year, construction began on a pulp and paper mill near the town of Springs, South Africa, which was to become the production headquarters of the new company. A public company formally registered under South Africa’s Companies Act, Sappi was first listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1937, with the 400 000 shares on offer quickly being bought up by investors.

By 1973, the company had re-registered as Sappi Limited, and in 1977, three operational divisions were created to serve different purposes, each with its own board of directors and administrative team. Sappi Fine Papers dealt with the production of a variety of high-quality paper products for home, office, and industrial use. Sappi Kraft was tasked with the processing and production of recycled paper and other materials that could be reused. Sappi Forests naturally concentrated on the maintenance and harvesting of plantations and natural forests that provided a much-needed source of timber from which the company’s extensive range of paper products could be made. In 1980 a new division, Sappi Timber Products, was formed that specialised in the management of sawmills to process raw timber. Sappi International was added as a further division in 1986 to facilitate the marketing and sale of all Sappi products to overseas markets. 1989 saw the acquisition of Saiccor, the world’s largest producer of chemical cellulose, while Sappi made its first international foray with the establishment of Sappi Europe, headquartered in London.

Today, Sappi’s business is conducted through three operational divisions: Sappi Fine Paper, Sappi Forest Products, and Sappi Trading. The first of these has regional business units as well as manufacturing and marketing facilities in North America, Europe, and South Africa, with additional facilities in Asia. All told, Sappi has a market presence in over a hundred countries throughout the world. Within South Africa, the company operates four full-scale mills at Enstra (near Johannesburg), Stanger (near Durban), and Adamas (near Port Elizabeth.

Sappi Bursary Program Overview

Sappi’s bursary program is aimed at providing opportunities for tertiary education to talented young students who would otherwise be unable to afford such tuition, and in particular, those who show interest and promise in pursuing careers in one of the many fields that are applicable to the paper or forestry industries and Sappi’s business operations as a whole.

Recognising the potential skills shortage that exists in many of these areas within South Africa especially, the company intends to create a consistent stream of skilled workers who can contribute to their workforce and that of the industry at large through the opportunities that such bursaries provide.

By partnering with accredited universities, Sappi ensures that promising students from disadvantaged backgrounds can get the training and education that they deserve, and in fields where such skills are needed. Sappi bursaries are open to candidates who fulfil a given set of requirements. These include being a South African citizen between the ages of 18 and 25, with a minimum education level of a Grade 12 certificate and proficiency in the English language.

A strong academic record is also required, with a minimum of 65% for English, 70% for Mathematics, and 70% for Physical Science. Preference is given to applicants with an average of more than 75% in the latter two subjects. Prospective candidates should also show talent in leadership skills and innovative thinking, as well as a commitment to teaching and making a difference through their work.

Demonstrated need of financial aid is also a requirement, as is acceptance at a recognised institute of higher learning prior to application. Bursary recipients are required to work for Sappi upon successful completion of their studies for a period equivalent to the bursary itself.

Bursary Benefits

Sappi bursaries offer comprehensive coverage, including the full cost of tuition as well as any registration fees, examination fees, or other administrative costs. Textbooks, stationery, and other necessary equipment and study material are also covered. A stipend is given for general day-to-day expenses.

Where necessary, an allowance may also be given towards accommodation and meals at a hostel or residence at the university at which the bursary recipient is enrolled.

Qualifications Covered

Sappi bursaries cover a range of different qualifications that have applications in various aspects of the company’s multifaceted business and production operations.

Fields of study for which bursaries may be awarded include chemical engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, built environment, forestry, finance, law, marketing, logistics, sales, supply chain management, manufacturing, corporate affairs, human resources management, papery technology, pulp technology, information technology, procurement, strategy, and research and development.

Specific degrees for which bursaries are offered vary from year to year, and generally include Bachelor of Science degrees in one of the relevant fields above, as well as National Diplomas in Forestry.

Application Process

Applying for a Sappi bursary is a fairly straightforward process. The necessary application form can be obtained from the Sappi website, or from a regional Sappi office.

These should be completed and returned to Sappi along with a CV, motivational letter, and supporting documents such as matric results/academic transcripts and ID copies, either electronically, by post, or at the local Sappi HR department.

Shortlisted candidates may be asked to submit to psychometric tests as well as attend an interview. Applications are open from August to September annually.

Sappi produces just under 700 000 tons of paper per year spread over their four production mills.


Application Due Date
30 September 2018


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