Wings helps stalled generation to take flight

Wings Global Travel Academy gets off the ground, creating opportunities for unemployed youth to enter travel and tourism

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, 11 July 2023 – Wings Global Travel® has launched an initiative to get young people into work in South Africa, where almost two-thirds of younger working age people are unemployed.

Unlike other ‘learnership’ schemes, which are typically aimed at university students, the Wings Global Travel Academy is for those who missed out on opportunities for tertiary education.

Wings has partnered with the Thandulwazi Trust to create 25 learnerships for students on a ten-week course between September and October. The Wings Global Travel Academy aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to work in corporate travel.

Kevin Lomax, Managing Director of Wings Global Travel South Africa, said: “More than a third of South Africa’s population is unemployed but that figure rises to over 60% for younger working age people up to the age of 24. Most learnerships focus on people who have found university places. We are aiming at people who have already worked hard to improve their life chances but didn’t have the resources to get into higher education.”

The Wings Global Travel Academy programme will select candidates who completed their secondary education with the Thandulwazi Trust but were unable to secure a university place.

Lomax said: “We get heartbreaking emails from students who left school with fantastic grades at age 18 but haven’t had the opportunity to go on to university, usually through lack of funding. The Wings Global Travel Academy is part of the national drive to ensure that this talent doesn’t go to waste.”

Businesses in South Africa must participate in corporate social responsibility schemes as part of Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) legislation aimed at improving the life chances of designated groups.

Lomax said: “Inevitably many companies approach BBBEE purely from a compliance perspective and do the minimum, but corporate social responsibility has to be more than a tick-box exercise. Unless we engage fully with the challenge, we not only risk prolonging social injustice but harming the economic prospects of the country. People desperately need work and businesses need to play a more active part in building the talent pipeline.”

Wings will create job placements for eight graduates from the course in admin, consulting and sales support roles. The company hopes to help the rest find work elsewhere in its supply network.

The Wings Global Travel Academy course has been developed with Dr Eric Albertini of Future Fit Academy. It will be delivered by Wings and Future Fit staff. Graduates will earn certificates for use in further education and job applications.

Tony Sofianos, CEO of Wings Global Travel, said: “I’m proud that Kevin and his team have got this initiative off the ground so that we can play our part in this process. We’ll be encouraging our colleagues in the industry to sponsor the Wings Global Travel Academy so we can increase the number of courses we run in future.”


About Wings Global Travel®

Wings is a global travel management company serving industries where the safe and efficient movement of people is critical to business. Wings manages complex, bespoke travel programmes for clients in the investment banking, legal and professional services, energy and marine, and mining and manufacturing sectors.

Founded in 1992, Wings has wholly owned and managed operations in 16 international hubs, best-in-class technology and unrivalled service standards. Wings employs over 450 people generating annual sales of more than £420 million.

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Media contact

Rebecca Gunn
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