Career Moves

SAP graduates help accelerate BMW’s vehicle innovation

Read time 3min 20sec
Hans Coertze, ZA Hub GM at BMW Group.
Hans Coertze, ZA Hub GM at BMW Group.

Software giant SAP says its skills development initiative, the Young Professional Programme, has played an essential role in helping to accelerate innovation at BMW Group SA.

In 2014, the BMW Group opened its BMW SAP Competence Hub in SA − now known as the ZA Hub − to provide IT services to BMW branches worldwide, with a focus on SAP applications.

Two years later, SAP established a partnership with the BMW Group, to provide the German multinational automaker with work-ready youth who have been trained in digital skills, through the Young Professional Programme. The initiative aims to empower unemployed and underemployed South African youths with globally-recognised SAP certifications and soft skills to begin a career as a SAP associate consultant.

The ZA Hub, staffed with over 100 SAP software engineers, focuses on delivering IT solutions to the BMW global production network in the areas of the vehicle manufacturer’s internal business processes – production logistics, warehousing and production IT solutions.

According to the companies, each of these applications makes it possible to produce highly-complex and innovative vehicles just-in-time and in sequence at multiple production locations around the world.

SAP says its collaboration with the German multinational automaker has helped produce long-term benefits for BMW, through supplying talented young graduates who work as SAP BMW consultants or SAC junior consultants after obtaining globally recognised SAP certifications such as SAP HANA, SAP S/4HANA, SAP Ariba, SAP Success Factors and SAP Business Intelligence.

“For the BMW Group in SA, the SAP Young Professional Programme is an essential source for on-boarding talent with in-demand digital skills,” says Hans Coertze, ZA Hub GM at BMW Group.

‘We can only achieve the required goals and targets of our dynamic company if we have passionate, humble and smart people. I was delighted by the quality of the young professionals that joined the ZA Hub. I am even more proud that we have young talent in South Africa who can support us and who we can assist to develop and function in an international business.”

As vehicle manufacturers seize opportunities to transform their business models through innovation, theGerman auto giant says it has established partnerships with various tech companies to help bring more than seven million electrified vehicles onto the roads across the globe within 2030.

The three-month Young Professional Programme, which runs under the umbrella of SAP Skills for Africa on the African continent, has trained over 430 local youth since its inception, ina set of technical and/or functional knowledge and certification of key SAP technologies, paired with soft and future skills elements.

Marita Mitschein, senior VP of digital skills Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa at SAP and MD of the SAP Training and Development Institute, says the ongoing collaboration with the BMW Group is a best practice for how companies can jointly address the digital skills shortage while driving innovation.

“Organisations are relying on digital skills more than ever to innovate and deliver value. Over the past four years, BMW has built a powerful team of skilled SAP experts graduating from the Young Professional Programme that have made a positive and lasting contribution to the company’s innovation efforts. We will continue to work closely with our industry partners to ensure they have the work-ready digital skills they need to run at their best."

SAP says over 99% of the programme graduates have been placed in meaningful jobs within the SAP ecosystem, as part of its collaboration with several local and global partners, including the City of Cape Town.

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