A career in Formula One motorsport beckons for Engen Maths and Science School leaner Thiyashan Pillay, not as a driver, but rather as an engine designer.
An alumnus of Durban High School, Thiyashan achieved 97% for Maths and 93% for Science, scooping seven distinctions and a 92% average for matric.
This stellar set of marks is set to kickstart his journey to Formula One, with a move to the University of Cape Town to study Mechatronics on the horizon.
“I want to dedicate myself to my studies to become the best engineer so that I can be picked to design the engine for the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS Formula One car.”
Thiyashan says he really admires world champion F1 racing driver, Lewis Hamilton.
“Lewis shows the world that our differences don’t restrict us. We must persevere and be the best we can be.”
Thiyashan says apart from the pandemic taking the lives of loved ones, the lockdown enabled him to work efficiently on his own and achieve his goals.
“Throughout the lockdown, I kept myself motivated by listening to my favourite sports hero, Lewis Hamilton. One of his quotes is ‘I don’t aspire to be like other drivers, I aspire to be unique in my own way’.”
“I too choose not to be like others, but unique and one of a kind,” adds Thiyashan.
Growing up in Reservoir Hills and later moving to the Glenwood area, Thiyashan says he faced many challenges living with an abusive father, his parent’s divorce and then caring for his sickly brother.
His advice for the matric students of 2021 is to remember that consistency is key.
“Don’t sit and procrastinate. Always make sure your work is up to date. Once you let work pile up, matric will begin to feel very stressful. But if you work consistently, you will be okay.”
Thiyashan, says attending Engen Maths and Science School classes every Saturday in grade 12 gave him extra practice in maths and physics.
“For English, EMSS gave me the ability to analyse papers much more efficiently and quickly. EMSS also helped me revise and brush up on important concepts in subjects.”
The long-running Engen Maths and Science School programme offers supplementary Maths, Science and English tuition to underprivileged grade 10-12 learners.
Saturday classes are held at nine locations across South Africa, including Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Cala and Johannesburg, and in KwaZulu-Natal at Fairvale High School, Ganges High School, Howard College, and Mangosuthu University of Technology.
The 2020 Engen Maths and Science School matric class attained an impressive 84% overall pass rate of which 63% attained bachelor passes, versus the broader South African matric pass rate of 76.2%.
Engen’s General Manager: Corporate Strategy and Communications, Khalid Latiff explains that the EMSS programme focuses specifically on providing extra tuition in “gateway” subjects such as mathematics and science, which are considered critical in addressing the country’s technical and engineering skills shortage as well as spurring economic growth and development.
“The EMSS programme seeks to harness the potential of talented young people in difficult circumstances and to contribute to the pool of scarce skills in the country,” comments Latiff.
“Starting off as Engen Saturday Schools over 30 years ago, Engen Maths and Science Schools are central to our skills development efforts and to help build the human capital of the future.
“The programme has worked tirelessly to transform young lives and has, we believe, made a meaningful contribution to a more transformed and vibrant South African workforce.”
Latiff says the company is incredibly proud of Thiyashan Pillay and all the learners who completed matric in 2020, especially under a difficult set of circumstances.
“Our ultimate reward is to help set them all up to pursue stimulating careers that won’t only benefit them personally, but also the broader macro economy of South Africa.
Engen, congratulates Thiyashan and the Engen Maths and Science School class of 2020 and offers a well-deserved round of applause to all the learners and teachers.