Bridgestone South Africa (BSAF) has inducted a group of young graduates through its intensive 12-month programme that focuses on high-skilled jobs, supporting them through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
Bridgestone initiated its participation in the public sector-run YES4Youth Development Programme in November 2019, placing 38 youth with degrees and diplomas in a variety of functions, such as sales, information technology, finance, procurement, and engineering.
“We saw this partnership as a great opportunity to proactively build a talent pipeline that would enable participating young future leaders space to nurture their smart, innovative ideas relevant and necessary for an evolving industry,” says Julia Modise, human resources director at Bridgestone.
“Young people make up the segment most affected by unemployment. However, they are probably the best positioned to offer out-of-the-box thinking and solutions to a fast-paced competitive world.
Our various staff members have all been very supportive of this initiative to help develop young skills in an industry that has been pursuing transformation across levels,” says Modise.
The YES4Youth 12-month quality work experience gives unemployed youth a high-impact first chance at work, equipping them with a toolkit to launch them into the industry of their choice. Over the 12-month period, BSAF has committed to providing a stipend to each participant while they receive on-the-job training in meaningful and relevant tasks.
Each graduate is paired with a mentor, a business leader who can guide them through the challenging learning curve and fast-paced environment.
The company also provides the candidates with a smart phone that is linked to the powerful
YES4Youth App. The platform contains valuable communication resources, including a newsletter, emailers, text, chat and accredited course work. Surveys and detailed progress reports allow participants to gain a clear understanding of success areas, as well as those that need more attention.
Each of the 38 candidates have now successfully received positive six-month progress reports, an indicator of the programme’s effectiveness. Concerns around the COVID-19 crisis raised questions of the impact on YES4Youth participants, but each of them were assured they would make it through to the end of the programme.
Candidates were also given access to the BSAF group employee assistance programme, which provides psychological support, education support and legal advice.
“As with other employees who were able to operate from home, YES4Youth graduates were also equipped to work remotely and maintain optimal productivity,” says Modise. “They also have access to online learning programmes available to all employees, so they can maximise any free time they have to sharpen their office software skills, communication skills, presentation skills, and other professional knowledge.
“We hope to absorb as many of the graduates as possible at completion, and in future intakes, we will provide progressively more structured mentorship, training and monitoring,” concludes Modise.