Changing lives through education

DSV’s Commitment to Sustainable Empowerment


More than 510 young black South Africans have graduated from universities and other tertiary education institutions over the past twelve years, courtesy of The DSV Empowerment Trust.

Previously known as the UTi Empowerment Trust, the DSV Empowerment Trust provides study grants for tertiary education of black staff, their dependents and nominees, helping us meet our commitment to changing lives through education.

The DSV Empowerment Trust owns 25% of all the DSV South African businesses, is financed by dividends from those businesses, and serves as DSV’s minority owner empowerment partner, which enables compliance with BBBEE legislation.

DSV’s Group Executive is committed to the Trust as the long term Black Empowerment ownership partner in South Africa, and fully supports the educational and social benefits the Trust offers the country.

DSV has more than 40,000 employees in over 80 countries and our growth has been driven by many characteristics, not least “how” we do things every day, which help differentiate ourselves from our competitors, and how we add value to our customers. Our values define how we behave, and the commitments we make to each other – and the DSV Trust is a celebration of this commitment and how we do things.

UTi co-founder Tiger Wessels said the Trust arose out of a personal view that education provided the only sustainable way out of poverty and inequality, and it involved commitment from both parties.

Tiger, who is still a trustee of the Trust, said students are free to choose their course of study, and this has included everything from logistics and accounting to engineering, film and design to music and medicine. Students are also free to work where they choose and do not need to pay the company back. While DSV has benefited by retaining graduates within the group, the Trust is an expression of support to empowerment and transformation in South Africa. “We wanted to make a contribution to society as a whole”, said Tiger.

And the results are making a difference – above and beyond the undergraduates, twenty medical doctors have come from the scheme, and there are masters graduates in law, media studies, social sciences, industrial psychology, management and marketing.

DSV Africa CEO and DSV Empowerment Trust Trustee Keith Pienaar notes that pass rates have been high, and this is ascribed to the comprehensive support structure put in place for students. Keith notes that this program does not simply fund students, and then leave them to their own devices, but a full support system is in place for students, even including access to a mentor on a 24/7 basis. Females accounted for 65% of all graduates in 2016.

Since inception in 2005, the Trust’s grant spend is just under R140m, and support to students covers fees, accommodation, books and living allowance. “The intention was always that students should have a full university experience, and so the support needs to be comprehensive”, said Tiger.

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