BMW Group South Africa reaffirms its commitment to youth development with 2024 YES Programme

As part of an ongoing response to the youth unemployment crisis in South Africa, BMW Group South Africa is a proud partner of the Youth Employment Service (YES) Programme. In an exciting welcome event at BMW Group Plant Rosslyn Training Academy on 7 May, the company onboarded its 2024 cohort.

The YES Programme connects South African youth to economic opportunity and dignity and, alongside BMW Group South Africa, helps build a future that works for all and drives the economy forward. As the highest impact private sector-led youth employment programme, it empowers businesses to create jobs for unemployed people. To date, it has created over 140,000 work experiences, with more than 1,700 corporates having joined the programme.

Education, training, and skills development 

The 12-month quality work experience for students who will be placed across the BMW Group South Africa business and in other sectors for 2024 got off to an optimistic start. Fittingly held at the Training Academy – a part of BMW Group South Africa’s vision to upskill and uplift people – the onboarding session highlighted education, training, and skills development at the heart of the company’s activities in South Africa.

The BMW Group Plant Rosslyn Training Academy uses innovative technology and digitalisation to focus on both theoretical knowledge and practical application. It continues to provide skills development for existing BMW Group South Africa employees and managers. With the 2024 YES Programme intake, the company is again a leader in ensuring that training and skills development are aligned with global trends and industry needs.

YES journey to Class of 2024

Testament to the YES Programme’s significant impact and success, BMW Group South Africa and BMW Group Financial Services South Africa were recognised as a YES Top Ten Jobs Contributor for their continued commitment to job creation at the 2023 YES ESG awards – part of the ESG Africa Conference.

In the first year of the YES Programme, BMW Group South Africa created 510 work experiences across the nine provinces, placing youth within the organisation’s retailer network as well as in SMMEs and the ICT, education, and health fields. An impressive 95% of this group was black African students and 67% were black women.

BMW Group South Africa went on to create 961 work experiences across the nine provinces in the programme’s second year. Of this group, 74 internal placements and 887 external placements were made. The 2023 YES Programme concluded with 50% of internally placed youth absorbed into the company’s graduate programme. And, by the third year of the YES Programme, BMW Group South Africa had created 1,010 work experiences across the nine provinces with 129 internal placements and 881 external placements.

The future course for YES

Following the signing of the YES CEO pledge at the welcome event, Peter van Binsbergen, CEO of BMW Group South Africa said, “We began a strong partnership with the YES Programme under our commitment to building a better future for our communities and country. I am proud of all the YES Programme students that we have welcomed and worked with so far – they have reinforced the notion that young people hold the key that unlocks great innovation. We look forward to integrating our new cohort across the business and in other sectors and are confident in these individuals’ valuable contributions. At BMW Group South Africa, we continue to say YES to youth!”

On the transformative initiative and partnership, YES CEO Ravi Naidoo said, “We have worked with leading businesses to provide quality work experiences for unemployed youth that drive the economy forward. Our partnership with an entity that builds more than just cars for another year, is aligned to our mission. We recognise the deep unemployment crisis in South Africa and understand the importance of youth participation in the economy. We give businesses the opportunity to embrace the innovative mindsets that young people possess, to build future-focused skills to thrive in our economy. I am proud of all our programme participants and look forward to what the year holds for the 2024 cohort.”