SOUTH AFRICA – Shoprite South Africa, one of the largest retailers in Africa aims to empower 12,000 youth in the retail sector under its ‘Retail Readiness programme’ initiative.

The programme targets to empower youth between the ages of 18 to 29 years old in Gauteng and the Western Cape through eight-week training, according to Business Day.

It equips the youth with essential skills in the retail sector and upon completion of the programme, the participants receive an NQF Level 3 qualification.

The programme, launched in 2016 has seen a total of 8 688 young people employed in Shoprite or Checkers stores, revealed the retailer.

According to Moga Pillay, the Group’s spokesperson on skills development, the programme seeks remedies to youth employment riddle where more than half of young South Africans are unemployed.

In addition, it enables Shoprite improve on the quality of recruits filling vacancies at their stores, since those who have completed the programme have a good understanding of how its business works and the factors that influence profitability.

Pillay said those who are not absorbed into the Group’s workforce have the necessary basic skills to start their own business or to be employed elsewhere in the retail sector as they are provided with knowledge in financial, legal and business requirements.

“As the largest private sector employer in Africa with more than 148,000 people in our workforce, the Shoprite Group believes that developing people’s skills drives not only our business, but also the economy.

The Group works to develop the skills of youth by creating educational and job opportunities directly linked to our business, thereby continuously creating an exceptional talent pipeline,” said the group.

It involves three weeks of theory is followed by five weeks of in-store training in various departments like the deli, bakery, as well as fruit and vegetables and participants are paid a weekly stipend during their time in the store.

Shoprite is working in collaboration with OMNI HR Consulting who are to help in the successful implementation of the programme.

This is in addition to the simulation store, a mini supermarket with service departments and stocked with merchandise launched by Shoprite back in 2015, becoming one of the largest contributors to skills development in South Africa.