With unemployment currently estimated at 35% – South African youth making up the majority – Bridgestone SA are putting their money where their mouth is and are generating lucrative career opportunities for young people.
“Young people make up the segment most affected by unemployment,” said Julia Modise, human resources director at Bridgestone. “However, they are probably the best positioned to offer out-of-the-box thinking and solutions to a fast-paced competitive world.”
In response, the company has inducted a group of young graduates through its intensive 12-month programme that focuses on high skilled jobs, supporting them through the Covid-19 crisis and beyond. Bridgestone initiated its participation in the public sector-run YES4Youth Development Programme in November 2019, placing 38 youth with degrees and diplomas in a variety of functions, such as sales, information technology, finance, procurement and engineering.
“We saw this partnership as a great opportunity to proactively build a talent pipeline that would enable young future leaders the space to nurture their smart, innovative ideas relevant and necessary for an evolving industry,” added Modise.
The YES4Youth 12-month quality work experience gives unemployed youth a high impact first chance at work, equipping them with a toolkit to launch them into the industry of their choice. Over the 12-month period, Bridgestone SA has committed to providing a stipend to each participant while they receive on-the-job training in meaningful and relevant tasks.
Moreover, each graduate is paired with a mentor, a business leader who can guide them through the challenging learning curve and fast paced environment.
Candidates were also given access to Bridgestone’s group employee assistance programme, which provides psychological support, education support and legal advice. And that’s not all. The company also provides the candidates with a smartphone that is linked to the powerful YES4Youth App. The platform contains valuable communication resources, including a newsletter, emailers, text, chat and accredited course work.
Surveys together with detailed progress reports, allow participants to gain a clear understanding of success areas, as well as those that need more attention. Despite some legitimate concerns raised around the Covid-19 crisis and possible effects to the YES4Youth initiative, each candidate was assured they would be able to complete the Programme.