Our youth need more than just jobs – they need a future!

25 Jun 21

Our youth need more than just jobs – they need a future!  

South African Breweries Vice President of People Lucia Swartz outlines how South Africa’s biggest brewery invests in young South African talent through employee development programmes. 

The South African Breweries (SAB) has a 125-year history of brewing South Africa’s most beloved beers. Over that time, it has endured, grown and transformed itself over a long history. A century and a quarter down the road, nobody can deny that SAB is an iconic brand that has woven itself into the fabric of the South African industrial landscape.  

Yet that comes with a great weight of responsibility, which is why we strive to be an employer of choice for many South Africans. Our national entrenchment means we play a critical role in building skills and capabilities needed to succeed not only financially but also to support and contribute to the development of the South African economy. 

This June, as we celebrate Youth Day, it is incumbent on us to pause and reflect on the journey we are on, and the development opportunities we offer our young and gifted South Africans.  

The latest statistics peg South Africa’s unemployment rate at 32.6%. This is alarming and needs to be solved. But businesses need to do more than simply offer jobs, we have a duty to build skilled, capable people who will not only take the company but also the country forward.  

At SAB, we believe our greatest strength is our people and our greatest investment is growing their talent. Our strategy is built on a foundation of recruiting young, ambitious people who want to build a career for themselves and succeed at what they do.  

Recruiting, developing and retaining people who are better than ourselves is at the heart of building our company. To reinforce this, leaders are measured by the quality and diversity of their teams. Through hard work and the strength of our teams, we believe we can achieve anything. 

By joining SAB, you get to pour yourself in the work that you do, from the farm to the brewery to the marketplace. We offer opportunities for diverse talents and fields of work, empowering our employees to take pride and ownership in every step by leading real change, delivering results and growing at the pace of their talent. 

Our people are bold, curious, resilient and ambitious. They are never personally or professionally satisfied. They see challenges as opportunities. They push boundaries, thrive under pressure and strive to scale new heights and transform their jobs. These are the kind of people who succeed in our environment.  

To deliver on the promise of building our own pipeline we have the following programmes in place at SAB  to help usher our young South Africans into a prosperous future: 


We offer a range of learnerships which encompass plant production, E-Commerce, Business administration, Food & Beverage packaging, sales and marketing to name a few.  When you join our leanership programme you gain experience by spending 12 full months working alongside real professionals. These learnerships take place in our operations across the country, so you don’t have to be working in one of our big cities to be able to participate in the programme and find a future. 

In-service trainees 

Completing the practical work requirements of their tertiary qualification, this programme is done in conjunction with the young person’s learning institution over a period of 12 months. This is specifically focused on areas of Brewing and Quality and we particularly seek young South Africans studying Biotechnology, Chemical engineering and Analytical chemistry.  

This year we were also proud to undertake a programme focusing on Logistics as well.  

Technical Trainees 

This is a training programme for graduates who focus on Engineering and Sciences By completing a formal program the graduates enter the organisation at a Leadership level.  

Apprenticeship programmes 

Being an apprentice offers an alternate career choice for young people and allows them to be productive, effective, and skilled while gaining a trade qualification as a Millwright, Fitter & Turner, Instruments Mechanician, to name a few. On-completion of their 4-year apprenticeship, they go from apprentice to fully qualified tradesman. All this is done in-house at our certified Technical Training Centre based at Rosslyn Brewery in Pretoria. 

Talent Accelerated programme (TAP) 

Through our Talent Acceleration Programme (TAP), this 36-month programme  attracts the brightest most driven graduates and nurtures their talent by providing relevant experiences right from the start. 

TAP aims to attract the brightest and most brilliant young graduates to grow their talent at one of the best places to work in South Africa – SAB.  

These young graduates will be ushered through cross-functional development as they establish their profile as future leaders of industry. To do this, the TAP programme will give these young hopefuls access to:  

  • On-the-job learning 

  • Cross-functional experiences 

  • Coaching and mentoring 

  • Enhanced growth and graduation 

  • Fast-tracked career growth 


Global Management trainee programme (GMT) 

In collaboration with our parent company AB –InBev, our Global Management Trainee (GMT) Program fast tracks the careers of the brightest, most driven university graduates through a 10-month rotation that offers in-depth exposure to our business operations and global projects. To develop a deep understanding of our business, GMT’s are immersed into functional areas such as Sales & Marketing, and Operations & Logistics during a 10-month period. An important part of the induction is an orientation to our company's culture, vision and strategy, as well as the opportunity to join other trainees from around the world to meet the CEO of our parent company and senior leadership.    Our GMT’s are expected to have real impact in our business  

Entry level requirements  

At SAB, our minimum qualification for all entry level jobs is a matric qualification. Depending on the programme, we either require an under-graduate degree or tertiary qualification of some sort. 

I encourage anyone reading this to reach out to the young people in their lives. If you know anyone who would benefit from any of these programmes, I encourage you to visit our career programme portal here.