The current status of affirmative action practices in the automotive sector does not offer designated managers Management Career Development (MCD) plans or practices that can be formulated, implemented and measured. Japanese techniques that have been tried do not look at improving the skills of designated management and do not provide models for advancement at managerial level that make sense within the South African Human Resources Management (HRM) context. There is a growing demand for top skilled managers and executive appointments in the South African economic market. This trend is reflected in the increasing number of recruitment advertisements. The Department of Labour (2000b) places a heavy emphasis on achieving equity in the formal labour market and in the acquisition of managerial skills by all South Africans. The South African potential working population has reached a total of 27.9 million of which 15.9 million are economically active and 12 million are economically inactive (Department of Labour, 2001). The employment numbers in the manufacturing sector have continued to decline and there is evidence of managerial shortages and a continued brain drain of highly skilled white personnel. A pilot research survey revealed that there was a lack of affirmative action career-pathing models or staff succession plans and that there are many designated managers who lack an MCD programme. There are a high number of people in South Africa who are not employable, due to a lack of relevant managerial skills and the need for effective MCD. It is therefore imperative that DSGN managers acquire expertise in the area of general career planning management to ensure business plan effectiveness and to act as catalysts to address the high skills shortages of black personnel. In this way the skills gap between the non-designated and designated managers can be redressed and a sustainable capacity of the competencies required by the country can be created. The aim of this research was to develop an MCD model for previously disadvantaged managers in the automotive manufacturing industry. Designated managers are often not properly trained and informed regarding the planning process of career management and development. It is hoped that through this research and the explanation of the importance of understanding career management, both managers and employers will be encouraged to be actively involved in structured MCD learning processes. This study was done with the following objectives in mind: -- to determine the current situation with regard to MCD and explore factors that influence MCD and the development of potential designated managers and their appointment to managerial positions; and -- to formulate a model for career-pathing and development for the workplace management career advancement of designated managers. As a first phase, a literature review was undertaken. It highlighted the importance of the identification of designated managers’ MCD. The literature research reviewed various MCD models for advancement and their integration with strategic Human Resources Development and the Business Plan. Based on the literature study, the research design and strategy were selected. A population group of designated and non-designated managers was identified within the automotive sector. Data was then obtained from respondents by means of a questionnaire especially developed for this purpose. The data was statistically processed, after which recommendations and conclusions were made. The survey revealed a considerable degree of consensus about the most important MCD advancement techniques and the intervention needs of potential designated managers. These must be linked to the organisation’s strategic HRD business plans. These techniques include special project assignments, job rotation, on-the-job training, coaching/mentoring and in-house MCD programmes. The research also highlighted numerous issues which have to be addressed in designated managers’ career development, such as -- the development of MCD potential for designated managers primarily by means of relevant exposure, experience and involvement in critical and non-critical activities; -- a strong internal monitoring focus group to oversee strategic HRM and play a positive role in maintaining the programme’s momentum, ensuring the regulatory functioning, including frequent feedback and continuous improvement of HRM techniques; and -- top management influence, dedication and commitment to the MCD model to ensure designated managers’ appointment to management positions when “workplace advancement” applications are possible. The recommendations focus on creating an awareness of MCD, as well as of the best strategic HRM practices. These practices include top management commitment, support and endorsement, MCD policies and Employment Equity interventions, an MCD programme process for continuous assessment for improvement, harnessing workplace diversity for sustainable business, action learning techniques used for building competencies, entrusting line managers with empowerment and commitment to the MCD programme, the use of an Core Advisory Forum to build MCD support and the creation of a life-long learning organisation supported and directed by HRM research.