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Youth empowerment initiative gives Bay youngsters a foothold in the jobs market


JOBS BOOST: BestDrive graduate Sipho Xhego works at the BestDrive William Moffett store
Image: Supplied

Continental Tyre South Africa is working hard through its membership of the Youth Employment Service (Yes) and its own BestDrive Learnership Programme to put youngsters at the wheel of their own future.

The company’s aim is to tackle the problem of young people lacking suitable qualifications, skills or work experience and thus hampering their ability to find a job.

Continental transformation and diversity director Genevieve Naidoo said on Monday the aim of the Yes programme — born in 2018 and led by business in collaboration with the government, labour and civil society — was to address in particular the work experience issue.

“Continental Tyre South Africa joined the Yes programme in 2019 to assist unemployed youth in Port Elizabeth, where our tyre manufacturing plant is situated,” she said.

“As one of the city’s key original equipment and after-market manufacturers in the automotive sector, we have a corporate responsibility to support government initiatives aimed at creating jobs, and contributing to our economy.”

The company selected students from the Yes database and paid a stipend towards their income and resources required for learning, she said.

The candidates could be hosted by the company or placed with an alternate employer.

The time frame for the programme was normally one year, after which the student received a certificate of completion and an employment reference.

“At Continental, we have opted to further train our Yes students on additional life and entrepreneurial skills within various aspects of business to support their efforts in finding jobs.”

Meanwhile, Continental’s support for Yes is being bolstered by its own learnership programme launched in 2019 in collaboration with the SOS Children’s Village House of Youth in Cotswold, Port Elizabeth.

Four young men were selected for the first intake of BestDrive in July last year, which saw them gaining insight into the tyre manufacturing process, followed by classroom and practical training at the company-owned BestDrive William Moffett store, Continental spokesperson Jiminy-Ann Bosman said.

“Through merSETA — the manufacturing, engineering and related services sector education authority — the programme is built around the learners completing a national certificate in automotive repair and maintenance with a focus on tyre fitment (NQF Level 2).

“An integral part of the development and empowerment project is equipping the learners with essential life skills,” she said.

Four new students had completed their introductory training, and would begin their three-month practical work experience at BestDrive as soon as the Covid-19 regulations allowed, she said.

Credit: By Herald reporter