Eileen Thornhill: Why I Believe in B-BBEE (Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment)

As Director of The LLC Academy, I am no stranger to the joys – and difficulties – of developing people. I have always been passionate about people’s growth and development, at all levels. Even when I worked in the IT world and people development was not part of my official role, I volunteered as a leadership development and life coach.

My enthusiasm for developing and educating people suffuses every aspect of my role at The LLC Academy, which focuses on building customised skills strategies for maximum Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment benefit. However, I must acknowledge that this is not without its tribulations.

I have, in the past, felt overwhelmed by the educational and unemployment challenges faced by South Africa. I felt that my efforts in alleviating these challenges would be futile. I have, however, since learnt from experience that every little bit counts. Seeing the growth and development of each of the people whose lives we have already touched is inspiring and encourages me to continue to work towards what we at The LLC Academy are calling “The South African Project.”

I wholeheartedly believe that B-BBEE is a vital aspect of the South African project. We must uplift previously disadvantaged communities so that we can ultimately increase economic growth in the country, which is a benefit to all in South Africa.

I believe that our work at The LLC Academy adheres to the true spirit of B-BBEE. Let me explain in more depth: all too often, companies seek to meet compliance targets because they feel that they have to – not necessarily because they see the overarching benefit. B-BBEE then becomes a ‘tick box exercise’ and is not used for its true purpose, which is to uplift previously disadvantaged South Africans, and to facilitate broader participation in the South African economy.

The LLC Academy combats this view in the following ways: For unemployed learner funding, we ensure that funds received from clients are put to good use in the purpose of sponsoring and uplifting unemployed South Africans. We show our clients how their funds have made a difference to these worthy recipients by keeping our sponsors well informed of the progress our unemployed students make as a direct result of their sponsorship.

For internal corporate skills development, we ensure that any client spend made with our academy is well used to help them to grow their own employees in the context of their environment and in line with their development needs. This will positively impact their company’s performance and, ultimately, the performance of corporate South Africa as a whole.

I believe that, if more people took the time to understand B-BBEE, they would see just how much it could contribute to the overall upliftment of South Africa and its people.

The LLC Academy can find innovative, strategic ways to align your B-BBEE strategy to the value and ethos of your company. Contact us today to see how we can make B-BBEE work for you.

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