Cape Town, 28 February 2014 – EY today announced the launch of the Cape Town NextGen programme, an initiative focussed on empowering the next generation of women leaders in South Africa.
The programme, which was launched in Gauteng in April 2012, started with 30 girls in ten schools identified by the Ministry of Basic Education. Selection of candidates is based on a combination of academic grades and leadership skills. In 2013 the programme had expanded to 57 girls from 11 schools in Gauteng and 27 girls from seven schools in KZN. With the launch of the Cape Town programme, EY has added 35 girls and nine schools across the province. This takes the total number of NextGen candidates to over 100.
Ajen Sita, CEO for EY Africa, says, “We believe that an investment in women is an investment in a country’s long-term sustainability. EY is committed to investing in our future women leaders so they can in turn get involved in the development of their communities.”
The programme is designed to empower and assist young females from disadvantaged backgrounds, and to create a network of support and enablement. The assistance provided is holistic and ranges from leadership skills, training, extra tutoring, mentoring and assistance that extends not just to our participants, but to their schools and families.
The programme includes leadership camps based on inspiring, empowering and motivating learners to achieve the best for themselves and their communities. EY has a number of clients, alumni and director spouses involved in the programme through sponsorships, mentoring and involvement in the leadership camps. In addition, the camps also include educational and cultural experiences. For the matriculants of the programme, EY supports the candidates with university applications, as well as assistance on finding bursary funding.
The success of the programme to date is evident in the 100% Matric pass rate of the first cohort of girls in 2013. 96% of the girls achieving distinctions in subjects such as Maths, Science and Accounting and there was an impressive total of 86 A’s with five girls getting the perfect score of seven A’s each.
The NextGen programme is increasingly gaining momentum and has already started piloting a mentorship and coaching programme for boys in the NextGen schools. As Sita says, “Even with our primary focus being on girls, we are cognisant of the role that boys play in our communities and in building our nation. Together with our partners we are committed to strengthening and enhancing the NextGen programme to realise our vision of building a better working world.”
Sita concludes, “As a professional services firm, which has a female staff complement of 50 % across our African operations, we are acutely aware of the role that is played by people and their intellectual capital in the performance of organisations and economies – whether public or private. To maximise the growth opportunities facing Africa today, the role of women in developing economies and societies cannot be overlooked if we want to take advantage of the prospects facing us today.”
EY invites other corporates to partner with us on the programme to expand the pool of future leaders. Please contact Mandy Pakkiri, CSR Leader, EY Africa on +27 76 191 5355 for more information.
Accolades for the NextGen programme
In 2013, NextGen was awarded first prize in the Gender Mainstreaming Awards hosted by Business Engage in the “Investing in Young Women” category. This award recognised and acknowledged NextGen for its aim to allow for future education of young women with the objective of addressing social inequities by educating and empowering young women leaders from diverse economic backgrounds. We believe that sustained, high impact and multi-pronged interventions are key to advancing communities across Africa and to build a better working world.
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Following on from EY’s successful integration in 2008 of 87 countries into one area from across Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA), the firm has launched its Africa Business Center™ (ABC), which aims to enhance the effective and efficient links between its geographic reach and areas of expertise. The firm enjoys representation in 33 countries across Africa.