Woman empowerment

Volkswagen remains committed to women inclusion and empowerment


August 2023

  • Diversity and inclusion is a central foundation of the company
  • VWSA’s commitment extends into the community

Kariega –  Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) embraces diversity by promoting the inclusion of women in an industry which was historically male dominated.

In the past women have faced barriers and stereotypes that hindered their full potential especially in science, technology and engineering disciplines. However, as awareness and efforts to promote gender equality have grown, the automotive sector has experienced growth in women occupying previously male dominated roles.

Russell Coleman, VWSA Human Resources Director said there are visibly more female artisans, technicians and engineers entering the job market. Volkswagen is committed to include more women across all divisions of the company and we are experiencing noteworthy progress on this front,” he said.

Coleman said that the global automotive group regards diversity and inclusion as a central foundation for the economic success of the company and VWSA subscribes to the same views. “We continue to develop and train young women to ensure a substantial skills base. Similarly, we provide female operators the opportunity to further their training and qualifications through the Volkswagen Learning Academy,” he added.

Moreover, Coleman said women are treated equally within the organisation. Last year VWSA appointed Martina Biene as the Managing Director and Chairperson of the board, the first ever female to be appointed in this position in South Africa. “By fostering an inclusive environment that values and supports the talent of women, we can harness the untapped potential of a diverse workforce, driving innovation and creating a better future for all,” said Coleman.

VWSA further extends its commitment to women empowerment and development into the community. The Train4Life programme, which runs in schools, is a VWSA education and sports initiative that features an U15 girls' soccer tournament and a comprehensive life skills programme designed to empower and upskill Grade 8 female learners.

The initiative, which combines soccer training and life skill lessons, aims to unlock the potential of young women and encourage them to aspire to greatness. To date this programme supported close to 10 000 Grade 8 female learners from various schools in Thembisa and Alexandria in Gauteng and continues to be rolled out in other areas. 



A group of female youth trainees met up with the MD and Chairperson, Matina Biene (centre) inside the production plant. From left are Tiz Bonadei, Division Head: VWSA Learning Academy, Zanele Ntoyanto (Millwright apprentice), Sipho Mbusi (YES trainee), Yonela Tokota (Millwright apprentice), Beverley Baartman (YES Trainee), Melony Els-Thom (Mechatronics Learner), Russell Coleman, HR Director and Siphosihle Moss (YES Trainee)