Standard Bank South Africa launched Feenix Trust, an NPO, in June 2017 to make tertiary education more accessible for economically disadvantaged students. Over the past three years, Feenix has raised over R35 million, providing support for over 1 000 students. Standard Bank has extended our sponsorship of Feenix beyond the three years to which we originally committed.
The platform enables university students in need of funding for current or historic debt to create profiles and request donations toward their education journey. As a crowd-funding platform, Feenix enables individuals and businesses to take meaningful action to solve social problems. Funders can donate directly to a student. If they prefer not to select a student, or want to improve their B-BBEE scorecard, they can contribute to the Feenix Pool Fund. Funding in the pool is divided to ensure at least 75% goes toward black, coloured and Indian students, 50% goes toward female students and preference is given to students who are active and involved.
To qualify, students need to be registered at a South African public university, and have an annual household income of below R600 000. To register, they must upload a copy of their ID and an up-to-date fee statement. Academic achievement is not a criterion for registration.
Our bursary programmes across Africa support our efforts to achieve positive social and economic impact in the areas of education, learning and development, employment, and African economic development. Standard Bank is committed to facilitating access to higher education to open opportunities for young people. This ongoing investment enables our recipients to become economically active citizens of Africa and, to the extent possible, start their careers with Standard Bank.
In 2018, Stanbic Malawi launched a MK120 million (R2.3 million) bursary programme, to run for four years, and provided funding for 30 students. We continued to fund these students in 2019. The bursary covers tuition, medical, accommodation, book allowance and pocket money, at a total value of MK30 million (R587 000) per year.
In South Africa, the Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme (ISFAP) is part of the national effort to solve the funding challenge faced by “missing middle” students (those deemed too well-off to qualify for government support, but too poor to afford tuition fees). The programme funds the tertiary studies of students from households that earn up to R600 000 per year. ISFAP focuses on students studying toward jobs in high-demand sectors, scarce skills and professional degrees. It covers the full cost of study, together with ‘wrap-around support’, which includes additional academic, social and psychological support such as mentoring and life skills training. In 2019 Standard Bank funded 163 students through the programme. Of these, 141 are studying medicine.
All that I have ever wanted was to have someone believe in me enough to want to invest in my future and in my dreams. ISFAP has done more than just that for me. They have not only given me the means to fulfil my dream of becoming a chartered accountant, they have also put support structures in place to ensure that I live up to my full potential. My family and I will always be grateful for the opportunity that I have been given to pursue my studies. Being awarded this funding has also shown me that life is not a solitary thing – we all need people to come alongside us, to make a positive contribution to our lives and show us that they believe we can make it. I would love to be that person to somebody else one day.
We encourage continuous learning and development to ensure our people are equipped to meet the demands of a rapidly changing, increasingly digital world of work.
We invest in training and development at all levels, enabling us to build a strong succession pipeline of future leaders. Our online learning platform ensures the availability of innovative skills development tools and learning content to all our employees.
The skill sets we require from our workforce are changing. We are investing in our people to help them become future-ready, developing their skills as the financial industry evolves. In 2019 we piloted an innovative, cloud-based micro-learning platform which gives all employees access to the learning resources they require to improve their current skills and build future skills. Using behavioural and data science, the solution continuously analyses employees’ skillsets to personalise development pathways based on their unique skills, roles and learning goals. Our employees are also embracing opportunities to learn via our world-class digital libraries, which provide them with access to a large volume of training courses and learning videos.
We encourage our employees to stay up to date with developments in their fields and to continuously develop their professional skills. Our employees can apply for bursaries to study further at recognised tertiary institutions. Tailored employee bursary schemes are implemented in specific countries of operation. Bursaries for under- and post-graduate studies were provided to 1 794 employees across Standard Bank in 2019.
We strive to attract and retain talented individuals in the banking sector. Our graduate programme provides an entry point into the corporate world for university graduates, supporting skills development and on-the-job training, nurturing future skills within the group and building a diverse workforce to drive Africa's growth. It offers a variety of options that cater to students’ interests, preference, area of study, and skills, and provides diverse development prospects. Participants are exposed to different departments and opportunities across the group and work closely with a variety of senior colleagues. They also have opportunities to grow their networks through attendance at industry conferences and events.
183 graduates joined the group this year on our various programmes and attended our Future Movers Summit. 155 of these graduates were placed in the South African business, with a strong focus on data science and quantitative skills. 61% of our South African graduates are women and 92% are black. 28 graduates joined us across Lesotho, Namibia, Nigeria and Mozambique.
In 2019, we were awarded the SA Graduate Employers Association, Employer of Choice in Commercial and Retail Banking for the ninth time in the last ten years.
As an international bank with an expansive footprint across Africa, we’re proud to have employees from over 50 different countries. We value multi-country experience and offer international training opportunities for our people.
To build a bridge for young people entering the world of work, address racial, gender and geographical challenges to educational advancement, and develop the kind of skills needed by Standard Bank, we introduced learnership programmes for unemployed young people in 2007. The programmes provide a crucial opportunity to gain work experience. For many participants it’s their first job. Applicants are required to have matric, or to have partial or full tertiary qualifications, depending on the programme they’re applying for. They undergo a rigorous recruitment process to ensure the right fit for the role. Each learner is assigned a coach, mentor and line manager for support during the learnership programme. In 2019, we enrolled 709 unemployed young people in learnership and internship programmes. 729 learners from our 2018 intake completed their programmes during 2019. 374 of these learners were retained at Standard Bank.