This year, SAP’s highest employee award goes to the SAP Skills for Africa team, which placed over 400 consultants in jobs in Kenya, Morocco, and South Africa, and is expanding to Ivory Coast and Algeria.
The winners of the SAP Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award this year are four employees from SAP Africa who launched and grew a jobs-creation program that fills Africa’s skills gap in the IT sector. The employees, Meena Confait, Tarryn Naidoo, Malese Ndhlovu, and Chris van der Merwe, received the award January 24 at SAP headquarters in Walldorf, Germany.
190 nominations, 1,700 employees, 38 countries
Launched in May 2014 by CEO Bill McDermott, The Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award represents the highest employee recognition at SAP. In 2016, 190 teams were nominated by their peers with a total of 1,700 employees from 38 countries, a significant increase over previous years. Submissions are evaluated for breakthrough thinking, simplicity, and boldness.
“The Award has turned into something very important and inspirational at SAP,” said Torie Clarke, head of Global Corporate Affairs, who moderated the awards ceremony.
Handing the trophy over to the winning team, Bill McDermott said: “Hasso Plattner is the soul and inspiration of SAP. The award’s association with him and all five founders makes it one of the most prestigious in the world.”
Africa’s Employment Challenge
Although Africa currently has seven of the ten fastest growing economies, it has the world’s fastest growing working age population, thus the challenges facing even the most motivated youth to find work are formidable. The only way up is through education.
The SAP Skills for Africa Program delivers on SAP’s vision because it addresses Africa’s skills gap in a simple yet extremely effective way.
“SAP not only trains and certifies young and dynamic graduates through this program, it also puts them into employment, creating our own sustainable skills pipeline and enhancing SAP’s long term viability,” says Meena Confait, head of SAP Skills for Africa at SAP Africa. Using a hybrid approach of classroom and e-learning training, the three-month program is run free of cost for select unemployed graduates in key African regions.
Meena was visibly moved by the award’s ceremony, saying “We have the best jobs at SAP because we get a chance to make a difference in these graduates’ lives, offering them opportunities they wouldn’t normally have had.”
SAP Africa CEO Brett Parker said of the team, “You cannot do this unless you have people with passion in their hearts, because it is a lot of hard work. But it’s clearly been worth the effort, because in 2016 we had a positive impact on 1000 lives.”
A Job Creation Motor
SAP Skills for Africa started in a humble way in Kenya in 2013 with only a handful of recruits. Other countries have been added since, including Morocco and South Africa, with Francophone Africa planned in 2017, covering countries such as Ivory Coast, Algeria and Morocco in its recruitment drive.
“SAP Skills for Africa is a job-creation motor that fully leverages the power of SAP’s existing ecosystem,” says Chris van der Merwe, Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist and Talent Delivery Lead for SAP Skills for Africa. “The managers and directors of our partners and strategic customers in the region trust us to find and train the right talent, who have jobs waiting for them three months later when they receive their certificates,” says Chris.
SAP Skills for Africa has already placed 418 associate consultants in SAP ecosystems in Africa.
About the Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award
The Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award, which was launched in 2014 by SAP CEO Bill McDermott, is the highest employee recognition at SAP. Awarded annually to one individual or one team whose inspirational and extraordinary achievement best delivers on SAP’s Vision and Strategy and who best reflects the SAP founders’ spirit and legacy of innovation, entrepreneurialism, and courage.