EMPLOYEES from Volkswagen in Uitenhage won a national Employee Volunteering Award after taking part in an employee volunteering programme, which involved renovating five schools in the Uitenhage area. The employee volunteering programme, which is aligned with the VWSA CSI key focus area of education, has since 2017 established five literacy centres in five primary schools. The volunteers restored and renovated the schools’ infrastructure in order to ensure the children have the necessary equipment and a safe and conducive environment in which to learn. The children were also paired with trained volunteers to work through a structured literacy programme twice a week. Volunteers revamp classrooms, establish reading corners, donate mobile libraries, books and posters. VW provides nutrition by partnering with Rise Against Hunger and volunteers pack meals which are distributed to the schools. The volunteers improve facilities such as ablutions, sick beds and playgrounds for the children.The awards form part of the Beyond Painting Classrooms (BPC) “Inspiring Employee Volunteering” conference, a biannual conference, hosted by the FirstRand Volunteers Programme, with the support of Charities Aid Foundation Southern Africa (CAFSA).Alan Pullinger, chief executive officer of FirstRand Limited, said employee volunteering is for the good of communities and South Africa as a whole, especially during these current difficult times in our country. Research carried out by Deloitte in 2011 found that employees who frequently participated in their company volunteer programmes were twice as likely to be very satisfied with the progression of their career and more likely to rate their corporate culture as very positive. Volkswagen SA invests millions in corporate social initiatives each year and with their various employee volunteering programmes, staff become involved and feel a sense of purpose by being able to help their community while benefiting the charities and communities.