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SA youth get a leg up at Famous Brands

Famous Brands, the owner of Steers, Wimpy and Mugg & Bean, has partnered with the Youth Employment Service (Yes) to provide South African youth with access to job opportunities and training within the company.
Source: Supplied
Source: Supplied

The empowerment programme has seen 159 young people given work experience as interns and baristas in six provinces – Gauteng, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, Mpumalanga and Free State. More than 80% of the youth are women and the average age of the intake is 25 years old.

South Africa’s hospitality sector is a massive employer and contributes around R392bn to the country’s GDP, but the Covid-19 restrictions severely impacted this sector, with restaurants closing down and thousands of people losing their jobs.

However, with the Covid-19 pandemic easing, the outlook is much rosier. Stats SA reported this week that foreign tourism is growing again, and the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) reported that activity in the hospitality industry expanded strongly for the third quarter in a row. The Famous Brands-Yes partnership aims to get unemployed young people active within this sector.

Critical, transferable skills development

Using the Yes internal model, Famous Brands has provided critical, relevant roles within the hospitality industry, specifically within a successful franchise model. Youth are employed in restaurants, learning transferable skills as baristas and waiters, and some have been placed at their head offices, working for different departments as administrative assistants.

The skills these young people are learning at the Famous Brand franchises are skills that can take them anywhere – baristas are sought after all over the world, while waitering skills equip these young people with problem-solving and decision-making skills. By using the Yes internal placement model, companies are also creating a talent pipeline within their organisation.

Stemming tide of youth unemployment

Derrian Nadauld, chief operating officer (COO) of Famous Brands said, “As we know, unemployment and specifically youth unemployment, is the single biggest challenge facing our country and society. We are delighted to be able to contribute in a small way to providing opportunities for some young people to obtain skills and work experience that, should significantly improve their future prospects of meaningful employment in the future by having employable and marketable skills.

“We have been energised and inspired by the young people who have joined the programme with us, and they are already making a positive impact in the businesses they have been deployed to.”

Ravi Naidoo, CEO of Yes, said despite South Africa shedding over two million jobs from March 2020 to the end of 2021, Yes has been bucking this trend and has created more than 82,000 work opportunities for youth.

Naidoo said that the retail sector has the capacity to create meaningful employment in South Africa and this sector’s partnership with Yes can play a significant part in creating employment, especially for young, semi-skilled or unskilled people. Through training programmes, like the one offered by Famous Brands, these young people can learn new skills and competencies to give them a head start in the jobs market, Naidoo said.

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