SPAR South Africa supports multi-million rand skills development project

March 16, 2017 IN THE CATEGORY: People, Responsible retailing

SPAR South Africa is working together with Mr Price Group to reduce youth unemployment. Invaluable retail work experience will be gained through MRP Foundation’s skills development initiative.

The programme, Jump Start, empowers unemployed youth with entry level skills and links them to job opportunities in its retail and supply chain. Since 2008, the youth development organisation has trained well over 22,000 previously unemployed youth, thereby launching over 10,000 careers.

With the SPAR Group’s investment, the MRP Foundation can continue to engage and enlist passionate youth who can connect with the vision, values and culture of SPAR.

Life skills and valuable hands-on work experience specific to SPAR’s retail environment is taught to students in the programme. To date, 1,000 candidates have already been trained in SPAR stores across South Africa and a further 5,000 will be trained through to 2019.

SPAR Group SA CEO, Graham O’Connor, believes this investment has the potential to make a meaningful difference within both SPAR stores and South Africa’s social space: “The relationship between The SPAR Group and Mr Price Group has grown and developed over the past five years through the MRP Foundation where we initially were invited to ‘piggyback’ on their skills development initiative in some of our stores. Through this initiative, we’re addressing our manpower needs at store level whilst at the same time targeting a reduction in unemployment of our country’s young people through helping them to acquire skills. Our initial investment in 2015 proved so successful that we’ve committed to a further three years.”

Mr Price Group CEO, Stuart Bird, also believes in the power of partnerships and in doing so, opening up greater opportunities for job seekers to step into the working environment. “We are delighted that The SPAR Group has committed to continue partnering with MRP Foundation in furthering the Jump Start programme for another three years. Our shared vision and passion for the betterment of our society, through creating opportunities for the employment of our youth, will continue to make us more effective together than if we had tried to do this alone.”

21 year old Aubrey S’kumbuzo Makhaza, a Jump Start beneficiary, is now employed at Knowles SPAR in Pinetown. He took the opportunity to develop skills and excelled in the program but his ambitions don’t end with employment.  “The team here are like my family and one day I even hope to own a SUPERSPAR with an organic rooftop garden!” he said.

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