With its roots firmly in South Africa, AEL recognises the role it has in Black Economic Empowerment through a combination of various initiatives and programmes, including:
- empowered ownership of the company
- procurement of products and services from black suppliers
- employment equity, skills development and training of previously marginalised individuals and enterprise development
- Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives in communities where the organisation draws its skills force.
In 2004, AEL entered into a BEE partnership with Tiso Group, one of South Africa's leading black-controlled and managed principal investment companies. Tiso owns 25.4% of AEL with the remaining 74.9% being owned by AECI. Two Tiso directors sit on the AEL board.
AEL strives to empower black-owned suppliers by increasingly employing their services through procurement. AEL has also undertaken a programme to develop suppliers by helping to improve their capacity to deliver the products that AEL uses in its business operations.
AEL has a robust middle management development programme which among other objectives is used to equip black middle managers for promotion to senior management. When recruiting externally for areas of the business where black people are under-represented, AEL gives preference to qualified and competent black candidates.
AEL's Human Resource department also affords all employees with the opportunity to develop their skills through further study and/ or Continuous Professional Development (CPD) training programmes.
Over the past few years, AEL and Tiso have strengthened their partnership to contribute significantly to various Corporate Social Investment initiatives. Outside of the formal CSI programme AEL also provides:
- Study bursaries – AEL funds study bursaries for previously disadvantaged learners studying Mining Engineering.
- Adult Basic Education and Training - AEL assists previously disadvantaged learners from East Rand Communities.
AEL is currently developing and finalising a programme which will further intensify the company's drive to develop black enterprise through supplier procurement. The programme will identify black and previously disadvantaged suppliers and help them develop their capacity and skills by providing resources, such as training courses to assist them improve their knowledge base.