Bureau Veritas South Africa (BVSA), the global leader in testing, inspection and certification, launched The Ithemba Trust, an independent body, as part of its transformation journey.

Aligned to the BVSA social-awareness ethos, the Trust focuses on empowering disadvantaged girls with a focus on education of young women interested in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Bursaries will be provided to the girls to allow them to study at their choice of recognised South African university. Transport and accommodation expenses will also be covered by the bursary.

After graduation, the company will absorb the young ladies into the business and upskill them with soft skills on work readiness. However, the girls are also free to seek employment elsewhere if they so choose.

Trustee Zwelakhe Onwell Msomi notes: “We wouldn’t want someone to feel like a prisoner as they will not be productive. We want the girls to be passionate about working at BVSA.”

Enterprise development assistance will be provided to those that wish to launch their own businesses and work will be subcontracted to them to ensure they can sustain their businesses and achieve success. The Trust will focus on beneficiaries hailing from areas in which BVSA employees live and work as well as areas their clients operate in.

District legal counsel for Bureau Veritas Southern and Eastern Africa, Hennie Knight, says: “Bureau Veritas has many long-established programmes investing in people and skills, training, socio-economic investments and procurement; so it is a natural transition for us to partner with The Ithemba Trust. Furthermore, we are proud to announce that our journey has culminated in us being recognised as 51-percent black owned as well as 30-percent black-female owned.”

The independent trustees include Yvonne Busisiwe Kgame and Zwelakhe Onwell Msomi, long-standing members of the South African business communities. They are both highly respected and passionate about education and the transformation of women. The trustees have enjoyed leadership roles in local and international corporates as well as the education sector; bringing a powerful combined experience set to the Trust. They have also been heavily involved in non-profit organisations and charities on both local and global scales.

Commenting at the announcement, BVSA VP – Southern African Region, Sal Govender, says: “BVSA is committed to the region and continues to support local legislation. We are proud to launch the Ithemba Trust today and to make a difference in our society by empowering females within the STEM disciplines through education and enterprise development.

“We are creating a sustainable women-empowerment programme that continues to create legacies and ultimately build a nation. We are poised to improve the lives of women; the backbone of society. It is our vision for South Africa to constantly exceed our client expectations through world-class professionalism from a diverse and highly motivated team,” she concludes.

The Trust is yet to finalise the criteria for the bursaries as well as the number of students who will be accepted. However, the 2019 candidates will be chosen within the next three to four months.

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