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The Level 1 status is affirmation of AECOM’s ongoing commitment to transformation, focusing on equity ownership and employment equity, skills development, supplier development, procurement, and socio-economic development.
Ndala explains that, on a national level, a Level 1 B-BBEE accreditation has a positive impact, as it supports governmental initiatives for transformation. Commercially, it provides advantages in terms of brand awareness, business development, and client relationships.
AECOM has implemented outcome-based programmes to improve and achieve its transformation objectives, including a learnership programme aimed at people with disabilities; the AECOM Educational Trust; and the Project Engage supplier development programme.
Project Engage aims to create a live, interactive, and robust learning environment wherein representatives from its black-owned- Exempted Micro Enterprises (EME) and Qualifying Small Enterprises (QSE) participate in learning objectives outlined by this in-house, exclusively AECOM programme.
AECOM’s disabled learnership programme recently saw 27 successful graduates. The learners were each awarded a certificate for completing the NQF Level 2 in Business Administration from Skills College. “Our investment in this programme not only shows that AECOM is committed to South Africa, but that we are determined to make a difference in local communities,” Ndala comments.
The disabled learnership programme commenced in 2016, with the initial intake of 29 learners all graduating successfully. A third intake is currently completing NQF Level 3 in Business Administration, and is expected to graduate this year.
Ndala adds that procuring from a Level 1 accredited business enhances the B-BBEE scores of its own clients. It also encourages AECOM’s own service providers to improve their individual ratings. As per AECOM’s third-party procurement policy, preference is given to EMEs, QSEs, black-owned and black woman-owned businesses, where possible.
Ndala’s recent appointment coincides with Bridget Ssamula being promoted from Country Manager for Uganda to MD for East Africa. This is against the background of the African and Middle Eastern regions merging under the leadership of Hamed Zaghw as Chief Executive and Jason Kroll as Chief Operating Officer. The merger with the Middle East region will assist AECOM in having a competitive edge in the South African market, aided by its Level 1 B-BBEE status.