The company's CEO Paul Bulcke said: "We will create more than 3,000 apprenticeships and traineeship opportunities in Africa by the end of 2018. We will provide readiness-for-work training for more than 300,000 young people over the same period."
The African continent has a population of around 700 million and around 70% of this is 30 years of age or under, but unemployment among young people is a major issue, affecting around 77 million worldwide while underemployment affects three times as many.
“This make [Africa] a place of opportunity and also of many challenges to makes sure its youth can build a future for themselves. There is an urgent and clear need to address issues of employability of young people,” said the company.
The initiative will now be rolled out across Africa, with particular focus in countries where the company has operations, such as Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Angola, Ghana and the Cote D’Ivoire.
First step on the ladder
"We want apprenticeships and traineeships to be the first step on a career ladder for young people, either with [us] or with other companies,” a spokesperson told FoodNavigator.
“The nature of our business, with its broad geographical and category spread gives us the chance to employ a wide range of young people from school leavers to PhD graduates. This essential part of the programme is to help young people be better prepared for the workplace."
While the objective is not to create jobs but to help young people transition from school to the workplace, some people enrolled in the programme may well continue to develop their professional careers at Nestlé "depending on the needs of the business".
The initiative will also include work in schools and colleges, such as helping young people prepare for interviews, CV-writing workshops and understanding company workplaces.
The programme already exists in Europe and Latin America but Nestlé said the decision to expand it to Africa was because “it is here… that the combination of business goals and social impact come most vividly to life”.
Number eight on the United Nation’s list of Sustainable Development Goals includes a target to develop a global strategy for youth employment, tackle youth literacy and numeracy rates and increase access to vocational training.
Interested candidates can apply through the company’s website according to the normal recruitment process.
In 2013, Nestlé launched its Nestlé needs YOUth programme, committing to providing 20,000 jobs and training opportunities for young people under 30 in Europe by 2016.