NextGen South Africa

Providing access to education for South Africa's young female learners.

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NextGen South Africa

Women are severely under-represented in decision making processes across the continent including South Africa and internationally. Education has been identified as the major obstacle to women’s access to leadership, and cost as the key barrier to girls’ education.

Poverty and familial obligations end many girls’ hope for education or the opportunity to fulfil her dreams.

In line with EY’s purpose to build a better working world for our communities, EY’s NextGen programme within EY Ripples, EY’s Global corporate responsibility programme, aims to develop the next generation of women leaders for Africa. The objective of the programme is to empower and aid girls from disadvantaged backgrounds.

More than academic and financial assistance, the programme strives to provide holistic education to the young girls to become well-rounded women leaders. From leadership skills training to academic tutoring, the programme is designed to increase the chances of success for the future. EY too believes in uplifting the environment from which the girls come from and thus support extends to participants, their schools and their families.

A critical component of the NextGen programme is a series of themed leadership development programmes.  These leadership development programmes give our participants the opportunity to acquire life skills, develop as young leaders, and to reflect on who they are and what they want to achieve in life.  The courses are centred on inspiring the girls to believe in themselves as young African women and understand and identify the skills they require to achieve their full potential.  The participants also take part in an annual regional camp where they are also encouraged to identify their personal leadership styles and strengths and to put these into practice. A key focus area of the camp is also on the principles of entrepreneurship, sustainability and social responsibility. During the camps, the girls are exposed to current leaders, a variety of speakers and relevant learning and empowerment topics.  This exposure expands their view of the world and opens their minds to possibilities that many of them did not know existed.

How the programme was developed

When the programme was launched in 2012, the NextGen schools were identified through the assistance of the local Education Department based on Matric (Final year of high school) results, School Management and Discipline and commitment to the programme.

Every year, along with the school principals and champion teachers the EY CSR team identifies potential candidates using the following criteria: potential to achieve academic excellence, leadership, community involvement and a passion to develop Africa. A further interview then takes place to select the girls into the programme. This is process is followed in each region.

The programme is widely supported by EY staff, who are in close contact with the participants and their schools. Frequent updates are sent through internal channels, such as emails, social media and daily news alerts.

The EY team has strong communication lines with the selected schools’ principals and champion teachers, as well as the participants themselves.

Impact of the programme

We believe our biggest return will be in the impact and influence our participants will make in their lives and in the lives of others.  It is to this end that we focus our efforts on empowering and educating our future leaders.

The programme has expanded from 30 girls in Johannesburg to a total of 262 participants in Gauteng, Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal. Of these 262 girls, there are currently 163 of them in university

Pass Rate


EY’s NextGen girls have 100% pass rate for the past 8 consequetive years

University Entrance


90% of EY’s NextGen girls have achieved a University entrance

  • Success highlights of the programme:
  • 100% pass rate - 8 consecutive years
  • 90% gain university entrance passes
  • The university students are studying a wide range of courses, such as: MBChB (Medicine); BSc Accounting; B Com Accounting; B Com Finance and B Com Law to name a few
  • 2018 bursaries amounted to R1 761 680
  • The first cohort of graduates: 
    1. Asemahle Mngambi - BCom Accounting 2018
    2. Amanda Chonco - BBusSc Actuarial Science 2018.
    3. Malefyane Matabane - BSC Honours in Advanced Mathematics of Finance.
    4. Nomfundo Mashiya - BSc IT 2015 (Cum Laude). She completed her Honours degree in 2016.
    5. Gontse Busakwe - B-Education 2015.
    6. Nelly Mthembu - Post Graduate Accounting.

EY Involvement/Volunteerism

The EY’s leadership team remain key advocates of this initiative, with direct involvement through knowledge sharing, coaching and mentoring during our leadership development programmes and camps.  In addition, our employees also maintain regular contact with the participants providing continued mentorship support and assistance. Also, each school of the participants has been ‘adopted’ by EY, which regularly caters to the needs of the school and the community.