Thousands of young people in Central and West Africa are benefiting from training to get them ready for the working world through a number of Nestlé initiatives to increase youth employment and entrepreneurship.
The company is creating apprenticeships and traineeships, as well as offering job opportunities at its sites across the region.
“Through our youth initiatives and programmes, we aim to help young people in Central and West Africa by providing them with the tools, expertise and experience to give them a stepping stone to make the transition from education to work,” said Kais Marzouki, Market Head of Nestlé in the Central and West Africa Region.
“As well as looking to boost employability and enhance job creation, we are also seeking to help address the problem of high unemployment in this age group,” he added.
Youth unemployment is a growing issue that presents global social and economic challenges. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8, Target 8.6 aims to ‘substantially reduce the proportion of young people not in employment, education or training by 2020’.
Nestlé is making headway in helping to achieve this goal by extending its Global Youth Initiative to Asia, Oceania and Africa.
The company recently announced during its seventh Creating Shared Value Forum in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire that it will create more than 3,000 apprenticeships and traineeships opportunities, and provide readiness-for-work training for more than 300,000 young people in African countries by 2018.
As part of the Nestlé Needs YOUth initiative, which was first launched in 2013 in Europe, the scheme aims to support young people under 30 in their professional careers to develop their skills and get hired.
In 2015, more than 50 young people in the Central and West Africa Region (CWAR) were recruited as full time employees.
Over 100 interns from across the region have been employed under Nestlé CWAR’s internship programme in the same year.
In 2016, Management Trainee Programmes are being introduced in Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.
Nestlé is also fully supporting youth entrepreneurship by implementing employment schemes across the continent.
The ‘My Own Business’ (MYOWBU) street-vending programme and ‘pushcart’ initiative, led by the company’s out-of-home business Nestlé Professional, provide young people and adults across Africa with the skills and expertise they need to run their own successful small businesses.
It guides operators to manage their own micro-enterprise and gives them training on sales, management, hygiene, safety and quality standards. The operators then recruit and employ 8-10 street vendors to sell brands such as Nescafé coffee in busy public areas such as stadiums, open markets and bus stops.
In 2015, more than 4,500 operators and vendors took part in both programmes in CWAR.
Nestlé continues to back youth training by opening the Technical Training Centre at its Agbara factory in Nigeria in 2011 to educate young people in technical training.
In 2015, 26 students completed the training, out of which 21 took up employment at Nestlé Nigeria.
In 2016, a similar centre is set to open at Nestlé’s Yopougon factory in Côte d’Ivoire.
The company is also helping to inspire African youth to realise their dreams through innovative ideas, which create value for society.
In 2015, more than 1,900 young people shared their dreams to make a difference in Africa through the Nescafé Get Started initiative.
The 2015 winner, Korotoumou Sidibe from Mali, received USD 30,000 worth of financial and mentoring support from Nescafé to help fulfil her project of reducing the amount of food waste in Mali and across Africa through her unique preservation methods.
Korotoumou will take part in a one-month leadership programme as part of the winning prize.
Commitment to youth
Nestlé CWAR’s efforts to back youth in the region highlights this year’s International Youth Day on August 12, which focuses on eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable production and consumption.
Its activities to support young people are also part of its pledge to meet 39 commitments that the Nestlé Group aims to achieve by 2020 or earlier.
In Central and West Africa, the company’s progress in the areas of nutrition, water and environmental and social sustainability are highlighted in the first Nestlé CWAR – Nestlé in society report 2015.