Saturday, 21 May 2016

WORLD OF WORK: Over 1,500 Jamaican youth to get skilled, get hired through new Nestlé initiative

SIGN ME UP: Members of Team Nestlé were on hand to provide internship applications and career advice to the students and job seekers at the launch.

As youth unemployment statistics rocket to unprecedented heights globally, one local company I stepping up its mission to create opportunities for youngsters who cannot get jobs because they don’t have work experience, and cannot get work experience without a job. On Friday afternoon at the UWI Mona Assembly Hall, Nestlé Jamaica launched its much-welcomed “Nestlé Needs YOUth” initiative and career fair, drawing dozens of students and young job seekers, who were able to participate in a number of career-related activities – from job interview workshops and résumé rehab clinics to dress-for-success rap sessions and one-on-one conversations with career coaches.

“Nestlé Needs YOUth” is a three-year programme (running 2016-2018) through which the company will provide support for a number of selected young people in their transition from education to work, providing them with the tools they need to join the labour market.

At least 10 persons (aged 18-29) will be recruited to join the regular workforce. Fifty (50) internship and trainee/ambassador positions will be offered, while approximately 1500 individuals will benefit from a ‘readiness for work’ programme that includes practical career coaching workshops. “We hope that we can increase the level of employability of the young people here because, as an employer, we see that sometimes when you hire people they don’t know exactly what is required of them. The CV might be wrong, and that sort of thing,” Nestlé Country Manager Jürg Blaser explains to TALLAWAH. “If you want to compete in the international market you have to be at that level, and as a country we have to compete internationally.”

Friday’s career fair was a hit with students and job seekers who kept the Nestlé staffers busy with their sign-up sheets and advice-giving. “I came to apply for the internship, so I just handed in my resume,” shared Oraine Danvers, a second-year UWI undergrad. “You always hear people complaining that they can’t get jobs, so an event like this is important to provide information and opportunities.

Keisha Palmer-Burke, Nestlé’s HR Manager agrees. She hopes the “Nestlé Needs YOUth” programme will serve as a catalyst for even greater positive change. “Through this programme we hope to contribute to the reduction in the youth skills and employability gap,” she says, “in addition to reinforcing young people’s social integration in Jamaica.”

‘Currently, around 30% of young Jamaicans (ages 18-29) are unemployed, with an even higher percentage being underemployed’ – Nestlé

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