BMW Group South Africa powers career and educational development to mark Youth Month 2024

On 13 June, BMW Group South Africa held its third annual Youth Day event at the recently transformed Lethabong Maths, Science & ICT School of Specialisation with a focus on automotive in Soshanguve, Tshwane.

The celebration, which honoured Youth Month, hosted matriculants of Lethabong School of Specialisation and Soshanguve Automotive School of Specialisation – both of which share a partnership with the automotive brand, whose manufacturing plant is located nearby in Rosslyn.

Honouring the past and empowering the future.

In commemoration of the valiant spirit of the youth of the 1976 Soweto uprising, the event focused on empowering young people as a crucial aspect of sustainable development and building a resilient future. Under the 2024 Youth Month theme, “Actively advancing the socio-economic gains of our democracy,” the day comprised engaging activities, including a university expo aimed at educating and guiding the students through university or college and bursary application processes.

BMW Group South Africa reaffirmed its commitment to building a better future, particularly alongside its employees and in their communities. More than 70 employees across the four business units at BMW Group South Africa were in attendance, volunteering to prepare and serve nutritious meals to the students and staff and then supporting the learners with their tertiary applications. Symbolically, the company included a thrilling BMW driving experience among some of the day’s festivities, which sought to encourage learners to maintain their pursuit of excellence.

Mbasa Kepe, Manager of Government and External Affairs at BMW Group South Africa, commented, “Now a School of Specialisation, Lethabong marks a significant milestone in the journey of regional education towards providing varied and tailored learning opportunities to students. At BMW Group South Africa, we are especially proud of the developmental strides made in this partnership.”

Kepe continued, “As we reflect on the impact of the youth of 1976 this Youth Month, we also recognise the diligence of everyone involved in today’s event and beyond it, on this journey of socioeconomic gains for the students at these schools and youth in South Africa.”

Strengthening education and enabling opportunities.

In continued empowerment, BMW Group South Africa partnered with Lethabong School of Specialisation for its transformative project with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)*. “BRIDGE. Educating young people for tomorrow, today” is a global partnership between BMW Group and UNICEF. In South Africa, it is set to redefine the landscape of education and skill-building for youth. It will create learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM), as professions within these fields drive global economic growth. Since the inception of the programme last year, 570 educators from 6 provinces have been trained in coding and robotics, and 90 subject specialists from all provinces have been trained to support the educators at school level. An impressive 100 schools have benefitted from the coding and robotics training through these trained educators.  

BMW Group South Africa announced an additional initiative with UNICEF, the “STEM for Youth Mentorship Programme”. Young people at underprivileged schools will be identified and placed in this structured job-shadowing initiative in private and public companies. The corporate mentorship will provide the youth with exposure to the workplace and STEM-based careers in the hope of motivating them to aspire towards these. The company again called upon its employees to volunteer as mentors to provide job-shadowing opportunities for the next generation of potential STEM professionals.

"UNICEF is committed to building the skills of teachers to strengthen the quality and relevance of education so today’s learners can best transition into the ever-evolving world of work," said UNICEF South Africa Representative, Christine Muhigana.

“We are proud to partner with BMW Group South Africa to educate young people today, for tomorrow. A better future for learners is possible with innovative STEM education at its core to enhance learning and youth opportunities for every child and strive towards a fairer and better South Africa,” added Muhigana.

The Youth Day event successfully served as a touchpoint for the youth and reminded them of their power and potential to shape the future of South Africa and the world. Lethabong School of Specialisation Principal, Maphefo Malope, commented, “As the broader society celebrates this year’s Youth Month theme, today’s event at Lethabong demonstrated the importance of youth engagement in the socioeconomic progress achieved through 30 years of democracy. Thank you to BMW Group South Africa and UNICEF who heed the call to action for young people to be included in the ongoing betterment of our country. Thank you to all those involved in the success of today’s celebration and the empowerment of youth.”

*UNICEF does not endorse any company, brand, product or service.