Retail giant to empower 12 000 young people

13 June 2018 | Web Article Number: ME201810298

Commerce & Trade
Education & Training
Finance & Investment
SMME Development & Support
Social Development

THIS youth month, Africa’s largest retailer is set to reach its target of empowering more than 12 000 young people aged 18 to 29 to enter the retail sector or start their own business.

Arguably the largest skills development initiative ever undertaken by a South African retailer, the Shoprite Group’s Retail Readiness programme was launched in February 2016.

Following the successful completion of an eight-week training programme, participants receive an NQF-level 3 qualification. Since the programme’s inception, a total of 8 688 young people have been employed in Shoprite or Checkers stores.

The current training block will end on 22 June. The next one is expected to kick off in July 2018 and applications are still open.

“South Africans with matric can apply for the programme at our recruitment centres in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria,” said Moga Pillay, the group’s spokesperson on skills development.

“This programme is a direct challenge to the crippling effects of youth unemployment. More than half of young South Africans are unemployed.

“It also enables us to improve on the quality of recruits filling vacancies at our stores, since those who have completed the programme have a good understanding of how our business works and the factors that influence our ability to grow,” said Pillay.

She added that those who are not absorbed into the group’s workforce have the necessary basic skills to start their own business or to be employed elsewhere in the retail sector.

Participants of the programme are provided with basic business principles which help them to understand the financial, legal and business requirements of setting up and running a small to medium enterprise in conjunction with a large retailer.

Three weeks of theory is followed by five weeks of in-store training in various departments like the deli and bakery, as well as fruit and vegetables. Participants are paid a weekly stipend during their time in the store.

Shoprite’s implementation partner is OMNI HR Consulting, which not only presents the classes in the first three weeks, but also ensures that a workplace coach is on-hand during in-store training.

Sarine Masibi (23) completed the programme in July last year. Since her appointment at Shoprite Rustenburg, she rapidly rose through the ranks and is currently building her skills as a trainee manager.

“The divisional manager noticed my service motive and suggested I sit for the trainee manager’s test. I passed and that’s how my current journey started.”

She urged all unemployed youths to enrol in the programme. “There’s nothing special about me. I was just willing to make the necessary sacrifices and look where I am today. I don’t spend a lot of time with my friends and family, but that’s what I need to do for now,” she said.

“I’m doing this for my son, who I want to have a better life than I had. Every day presents new challenges, but it’s been a fantastic experience so far.”

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