Youth employment

youth employment

Youth employment

What is the issue?

There is widespread youth unemployment across Europe. The unemployment rate among 16-24-year-olds has been rising consistently since 2005. Unemployment is a serious social and economic problem, limiting young people’s opportunities, restricting social mobility and burdening the economy.

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Why is it important?

The food and drink industry’s workforce is ageing. Half the industry’s technical workforce will retire by 2020. To fill the gap in our talent pipeline, we need a sustained focus on recruiting new talent and supporting the development of young people in our own business over the next few years.

We believe our youth employment initiatives are an opportunity to create shared value in society, by creating rewarding jobs and career paths for young people across the UK & Ireland.


  • In progress
  • By 2016 – Create 1,900 employment opportunities for young people across the UK & Ireland, including 300 paid work experience placements through the Youth Employment Initiative.
  • By 2016 – As part of the Youth Employment Initiative, reach 12,000 young people in the UK & Ireland through online challenges and 4,000 young people through employability skills workshops in 40 schools and colleges close to Nestlé UK & Ireland sites.

Addressing unemployment by creating rewarding jobs and career paths for young people.


Securing the talent we need for the future.

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What are we doing about it?

In November 2011 we launched the Nestlé Academy to grow our own pipeline of high-performing talent and develop the future leaders of our business.

In 2013, we announced that we will create 1,900 employment opportunities for young people by 2016, including 300 paid work experience placements. More than 600 employment opportunities will be available each year in roles across all areas of the business and at all levels, from operators on the factory floor to field sales assistants and business managers.

The programme is part of Nestlé’s European Youth Employment Initiative, which will offer 10,000 jobs and create 10,000 apprentice positions and traineeships by 2016.

In 2014, Nestlé expanded its Youth Employment Initiative in Europe to create Alliance for Youth, a collaboration between leading companies that has helped more than 50,000 young Europeans find jobs or training opportunities in its first year alone.

With youth unemployment steadily rising we all need to play our part in creating opportunities for the next generation. Attracting new talent and investing in future skills is key to the continued success of our business, which is why we are offering school leavers, university students and graduates the chance to gain experience throughout our business.
Dame Fiona Kendrick, Nestlé UK & Ireland CEO

I found my work experience really eye-opening and enjoyable. The environment was incredible and not what I expected at all. My line manager and team were really welcoming and helpful. I also really enjoyed working in an area I had little knowledge on, I learnt so much.
Megan Harding, Work Placement Student – Gatwick

Employee at the factory  

Youth employment progress

The Youth Employment Initiative was launched in the UK in November 2013. Since then we have created 1,433 employment opportunities for young people, including work experience placements, apprenticeships and development programmes. This puts us well on track to meet our target of 1,900 employment opportunities by 2016.

Working groups at the training  


As part of the Youth Employment Initiative we have partnered with MyKindaFuture, a leading social enterprise that aims to connect young people with the world of work. Through the partnership, we have been able to engage with local students in a number of ways, including school workshops and on-site visits across our offices and factories.

The campaign promotes the breadth of career pathways available within the food and drink industry, and in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)-based roles.

Since 2013, the programme has engaged with 2,653 young people in 51 schools, and reached 9,405 14-19-year-olds online.

Employees at the office  

Nestlé Academy

The Nestlé Academy brings together our graduate and apprenticeship programmes, direct entry schemes and vocational training to build the pipeline of specialist skills and broad experience needed for our future business success.

The academy focuses on developing high quality skills and an entrepreneurial mindset. We understand that attitude and values are as important as qualifications in driving our business forward, and we work hard to ensure that our employees have both.

Employee working with the equipment  

Developing the next generation of food industry leaders

Through the Youth Employment Initiative, we’ve been working to expand opportunities available to young people by launching new apprenticeships and graduate roles. These include the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship scheme – a groundbreaking scheme designed to produce the next generation of food and drink industry leaders.

The three-year programme offers students the chance to combine a business and management degree at Sheffield Hallam University with practical experience at Nestlé across four commercial functions: Sales; Marketing; HR; and Supply Chain.

On successful completion of the scheme, apprentices will gain a degree from Sheffield Hallam, be offered a permanent job by Nestlé and become professional member of the Chartered Management Institute.

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What’s next?

We are working to develop a robust plan to ensure the Youth Employment Initiative is sustainably moving forward, through employability, inclusivity and working with our Alliance for Youth partners.

We will continue to help young people be better prepared for the workplace through readiness for work programmes covering topics such as interview preparation and CV writing. We are looking to further evolve our talent offerings into the organisation, including the opportunity to set up a technical Fast Start scheme.