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SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC TAKES A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

Engineering News | 12 June 2024


Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, is celebrating South Africa’s Youth Day on 16 June 2024 with several exciting and comprehensive initiatives that has seen the company making a tangible difference to the skills development and growth of the country’s youth.


This year’s Youth Day theme: “Actively embracing the socioeconomic gains of our democracy", reinforces Schneider Electric’s philosophy of the 3Es - Education, Experience, and Exposure - to ensure holistic development for the youth.


“We believe this approach covers all-important developmental elements such as business communication, etiquette, organisational skills, basic project management, and time management.  Our youth development initiatives are both robust and forward-thinking, focusing on various aspects of early career development,” notes Nimmita Maharaj, Diversity and Transformation Director, Anglophone Africa at Schneider Electric.


Additionally, there is a strong technical focus with product training that includes Schneider Electric’s vendor-neutral EcoStruxure IoT architecture as well as client and customer site visits, and commercial exposure in areas like e-commerce and channel marketing.


Every year, as part of its Bursar Programme, Schneider Electric sponsors between 10 and 20 students across various fields, including engineering, computer science, HR, marketing, and commerce. The programme ensures a sustainable talent pipeline, with recruits drawn from diverse tertiary institutions such as Wits University, North-West University (NWU), University of Venda, University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN), and University of Cape Town (UCT). 


Modlay Davids, Talent Acquisition and Employer Branding Lead, Human Resources at Schneider Electric says: “In this way we are proactively addressing business skills requirements for the future and nurturing brand loyalty from an early stage.”


Schneider Electric is committed to gender equity, maintaining a male-to-female split of 60/40 in its youth programmes. This focus ensures that young women are equally represented and empowered in the industry, particularly in scarce skills such as STEM.


Schneider Electric’s South African offices have over the past five years absorbed into permanent roles:

  • 42 graduates from its graduate programme.

  • 15 interns who have transitioned into full-time roles.

  • 21 learners from business administration learnerships, with another 16 employed by industry peers.


In practice


As testament to Schneider Electric's dedication to youth empowerment and job creation, the company has in the last year been recognised with several prestigious awards:

  • Job Creation Award at the Top Empowerment Awards by Topco Media in July 2023.

  • Youth Employment Award in the Champion Employer Category, Gold 2023, from the South African Council of Graduates (SACGRA), received in May 2024.

  • Schneider Electric’s Best Internship Programme for Middle East and Africa (MEA) in June 2023 for its MEA Grad and Intern programme.


“Participants in Schneider Electric’s youth programmes benefit from a structured support system that includes buddies and mentors who provide guidance throughout their journey. This mentorship is crucial for fostering personal and professional growth,” explains Modlay Davis.


Last, but certainly not least, is the tangible impact Schneider Electric’s youth programmes has made on individuals:


Londiwe Mngadi, Senior Design Firm Engineer


"Joining Schneider Electric as a graduate trainee has laid the perfect foundation for my career.  As a young female working in a male dominated environment, Schneider Electric has fostered my confidence greatly through the culture of inclusivity and the ‘How Women Rise’ programme, which focuses on breaking barriers and female empowerment.

“In addition, I have been able to impact the lives of other young women at high school and tertiary level, educating them about careers in STEM, something that is very close to my heart. Through this I contribute to youth development in my community and impact their thinking positively.”


Thulani Myeni, Tender Engineer


“The experience at Schneider Electric has been more than just about professional development, acquiring technical expertise, or business acumen. It has allowed me to grow personally and has empowered me to give back to my family - the financial security I have gained allows me to support my family in a way I never thought possible, thereby contributing to, and making an impact on my community and society at large. 


“The company’s commitment to youth development is not just strategy on paper. Schneider Electric truly invests in young minds, providing the tools and opportunities we need to succeed. It's a place where you can learn, grow, and make a real difference.”


‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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