There is a tendency for people to argue that real social and economic transformation in South Africa will only happen if we focus on the grassroots development of those South Africans who have been previously disadvantaged. While it cannot be denied that the development and upliftment of those who have been economically excluded from South African society does in fact need to start from the ground up, there is a danger that, by focusing on the grassroots alone, we will forget that socio-economic development needs to be happening at every level of society – whether it be at the grassroots level, or even as high as the boardroom.
“It is all too easy to look at South Africa’s problems with inequality as being a result of one single problem,” says Eileen Thornhill, Director of The LLC Academy. “If we oversimplify the challenges that we as a country are facing, and ignore just how many facets make up the reasons for the inequality in the first place, we do ourselves a real disservice.”
Thornhill, however, wants to make it very clear that development at the grassroots level is a vital part of the ongoing upliftment of South Africa. “I am not saying that we should not be focusing on grassroots development – not at all. In fact, The LCC Academy offers courses such as our ‘Teach-A-Teacher Programme, which addresses youth unemployment by providing a year of funded education, with valuable work experience, to deserving, unemployed South Africans who cannot otherwise afford to study.”
“By training teachers to teach the youth of South Africa, we seek to tackle the issue of inequality at a very early stage – and equip the youth of South Africa to take ownership of the project of education,” says Thornhill.
But, says Thornhill, the project of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment needs to be just that – Broad-Based. “Grassroots development is vital, but it’s not where B-BBEE begins and ends. B-BBEE needs to be taking place on every rung of the developmental ladder. We need to be developing and growing South Africa’s future leaders, yes – but what of our current leaders?”
“We at The LLC Academy believe that learning and development needs to be ongoing at every level of South African society – after all, it’s not like the world has stopped changing and growing, so why should our leaders not continue to grow and change to fit the needs of their employees, colleagues, businesses, and society,” asks Thornhill.
“This is why The LLC Academy offers such a wide range of courses and programmes across all levels, from grassroots to boardroom. While we do our utmost to provide education to those who would not be otherwise able to afford it through mutually beneficial partnerships with businesses looking to improve their B-BBEE scorecard, we firmly believe that there is great value in the programmes we offer for those already employed – from courses in creative, innovative thinking, to leadership development and more,” says Thornhill.
If South Africa is going to see real economic and social transformation, that uplifts the previously disadvantaged to a point where the people of South Africa are playing on a level playing field, and our economy is open to all, then education, growth and development needs to be taking place across all levels of our society simultaneously.
The LLC Academy offers programmes and courses that grow and develop South Africans from all walks of life, and all socio-economic levels. If you are interested in sponsoring a future teacher, upskilling your existing workforce, or developing your leaders – all while improving your B-BBEE scorecard – talk to us to see how we can help you.