SAP Next-Gen and BMW SA Partner to Empower Final-year Students with 21st Century Technology Skills

SAP Next-Gen and SAP Africa in partnership with BMW SA SAP Shared Services Centre (SSSC) have announced a Next-Gen Bootcamp to impart knowledge and skills on so-called next-generation technologies among final-year university students, which can significantly improve their career prospects. The Next-Gen Bootcamp will take place during the winter school holidays from 9-13 July in Johannesburg and Pretoria and will equip students with up-to-date industry knowledge and workplace exposure to enable students to make more informed career decisions.

Mehmood Khan, Chief Operating Officer at SAP Africa, sees strong alignment between this initiative and SAP Africa’s broader commitment to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, more specifically SDG 4 – Quality Education. “As a purpose-driven global organisation we understand the power of partnership and collaboration in addressing the challenges our world faces. By enhancing the students’ education, we contribute to unlocking decent work opportunities that can reduce inequality and drive economic growth. Through initiatives such as this and our Skills For Africa and Africa Code Week programs, SAP Africa is making a positive contribution to the continent’s development and growth by equipping the workforce of tomorrow with 21st century skills.”

A total of 20 senior students sourced from the University of Pretoria and Tshwane University of Technology, will undertake three days of training on industry-relevant SAP topics at SAP Africa’s head office in Woodmead, Johannesburg. This will be followed by two days of job shadowing and project participation at BMW South Africa’s Shared Services Centre in Pretoria.

Eda Lombard, General Manager IT at BMW (SA) says: “BMW Group South Africa is deeply invested in the economic and social future of South Africa, as our recent commitment to expand our production facilities has proven. For us to succeed as a business, we need access to the best digital skills that can drive digital transformation and innovation across our operations. The Next-Gen Bootcamp provides us with an introduction to some of the country’s top digital talent while also inspiring and engaging the next generation of digital workers.”

The South African SAP Shared Service Centre is one of the specialist hubs for the BMW Group, and has an impressive track record of more than 300 viable projects that have been implemented globally. The SAP Shared Service Centre has also created more than 300 specialist work opportunities between 2014 and 2017 and will continue to support a growing number of critical IT systems and processes for BMW worldwide while providing employees with the opportunity to develop their skills and excel both locally and abroad.

According to De Wet Naudé, Regional Director for SAP Next-Gen in Africa, the boot camp is designed to provide students with the opportunity to supplement their university training and gain insights into how their knowledge and skills can be utilised in a live work environment. “The Next-Gen Bootcamp will afford students the opportunity to increase their industry knowledge and make them more employable. In addition, our customers and partners get a chance to work with potential talents over an extended period of time with a view to possible internship or recruitment opportunities. This also emphasises our commitment to address the perceived “grad-gap” in terms of the skills and knowledge acquired at a tertiary level and the requirements from industry.”

SAP Next-Gen is the next step in the evolution of the SAP University Alliances programme that enables SAP customers and partners to seed in disruptive innovation and accelerate their exponential enterprise journeys and digital futures through connecting with students, start-ups, academic thought leaders and researchers, accelerators, venture firms, and other partners in the SAP University Alliances innovation network.

“From our dealings with partners and customers in the SAP Africa ecosystem, we identified a need for closer alignment between the academic knowledge that graduates gain at university level and their experience of the tools, methodologies, platforms and applications that drive success in the business world,” says Naudé. “We believe that this provides benefits for students, the universities, the industry partners and the SAP ecosystem alike.”