Continental Tyre SA focus on youth employment

The national lockdown has placed immense pressure on businesses nationwide and has resulted in great numbers of unemployment.

The national lockdown has placed immense pressure on businesses nationwide and has resulted in great numbers of unemployment. One key demographic that has been suffering the most are the youth as most still lack qualifications, skills or work experience. In an effort to mitigate this growing problem, Continental SA is once again focusing their efforts to the Youth Employment Service (YES) programme they joined in 2018. The programme sees the collaboration between businesses, government, labour and civil society and provides youth with the necessary work experience and ultimately aim to stimulate employment under the youth of South Africa.

Sibusiso Sokutu

“Continental Tyre South Africa (CTSA) joined the YES programme in 2019 to assist unemployed youth based in Port Elizabeth where our tyre manufacturing plant is situated. As one of the city’s key original equipment and aftermarket manufacturers in the automotive sector, we have a corporate responsibility to support government initiatives aimed at creating jobs and contributing to our economy. The YES initiative is a fantastic way of providing young people with learning and employment opportunities, which creates a pool of talent for potential employment at Continental or within the broader economy,” Genevieve Naidoo, director of transformation and diversity, CTSA.

The programme sees learners registered on the YES database placed at Continental SA or at other businesses to gain valuable working experience while CTSA financially contributes towards the learner’s income and resources needed to gain the experience. Typically the learner will spend a period of one year in the learning environment whether at Continental SA or at an alternative business after which they obtain a certificate of completion and an employment reference.

Sipho Xhego

“At Continental, we have opted to further train our YES learners on additional life and entrepreneurial skills within various aspects of the business to support their efforts in finding jobs and being absorbed into the workforce,” Naidoo added.

In addition to the work experience obtained, the learners also receive guidance in putting together a CV and are helped to obtain temporary or permanent employment at the end of the cycle by the Continental SA Human Resources department. A few of the learners will also get job offers from CTSA while the others leave the programme with marketable skills and a much greater prospect of finding gainful employment.

“In these uncertain and tumultuous times where there are so much unemployment and a shortage of essential skills, we are proud to be part of the solution by empowering the youth for a better future,” Naidoo states.

In addition to the YES programme, Continental SA also launched a Continental Tyre SA/BestDrive Learnership Programme in collaboration with SOS Children’s Village House of Youth in Cotswold, Port Elizabeth in 2019. Since July last year the programme has seen four young men receive training on the manufacturing processes of tyres as well as practical training at the BestDrive William Moffett store, a company owned branch. During this time the four individuals take part in a course set out by merSETA – the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Authority. The aim of the programme is for the young men to complete a National Certificate in Automotive Repair and Maintenance with a focus on Tyre Fitment (NQF Level 2).

Sibusiso Sokutu and Sipho Xhego in front of BestDrive William Moffett, Port Elizabeth

While the learners receive valuable professional skills, they are also equipped with life skills such as paying rent and utilities, contributing to the weekly food budget and cooking as they share the House of Youth with a mentor. The aforementioned learners have subsequently completed their course and received their merSETA certificates of competence. BestDrive William Store has temporarily employed Sibusiso Sokutu and Sipho Xhego while Ndimphiwo Manaka and Wayne Nel has gained temporary positions at Concept Wheels in Port Elizabeth.

Four new learners have been chosen to take part in the 2020 Learnership Programme and comprise of Litha Bodlani, Sandiseka Mzomba, Vuyolwethu Ntungwana and Xolelwa Fulani. While the four new learners have completed their introductory training, they now await for COVID-19 regulations to allow them to begin their three-month practical work experience at BestDrive.

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