Nestlé UK and Ireland today announced it will create 1,900 employment opportunities for young people over the next three years, including 300 paid work experience placements.
More than 600 employment opportunities will be available each year across Ireland and the UK including roles across all areas of the business and at all levels – from operators on the factory floor to field sales assistants and business management.
The programme is part of Nestlé’s European Youth Employment Initiative which will help 20,000 people across Europe under the age of 30 find employment; offering 10,000 jobs and creating 10,000 apprentice positions and traineeships by 2016. It is anticipated that some five per cent of the employment opportunities announced will be available in Ireland specifically.
Nearly one million young people (16-24) are unemployed in the UK, while youth unemployment in Ireland is 28 per cent with more than 65,000 young people out of work.
The announcement comes as a new Populus study out today highlights that current work experience programmes are resulting in young people being unable to develop the necessary skills for the workplace.
The study, commissioned by Nestlé, highlighted that nine out of 10 businesses felt young people left school ill-equipped to start work. In addition, despite 62 per cent of business leaders believing that only work experience could give young people the skills they needed to gain employment, only a third (30 per cent) felt that they got any value out of offering it.
The majority of teachers (79 per cent) and students (62 per cent) agreed that work experience was important to prepare young people for employment, but the survey showed that the quality of work experience offered was often not up to par, with only a third of young people (35 per cent) given any training while on the job and only 56 per cent having the opportunity to shadow an employee and learn about the business they were working in.
Nestlé UK & Ireland CEO Fiona Kendrick said: “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.”
Deirdre O’Donoghue, Country Manager Nestle Ireland stated: “Sadly young people in Ireland are stuck in a catch-22 situation. They can’t get a job without experience, but can’t get experience without a job. Companies need to help young people escape from this trap. As employers we value young people with experience, so we have to provide young people with enough opportunities to gain it.”
“Industry must step up and help young people bridge the gap between education and employment. We need to work together to help young people – and to develop the next generation of skilled employees for the future.”
Working with supplier McCurrach Ireland Nestlé in Ireland will offer paid work experience within its offices and sales teams to young people.
Today’s announcement builds on the work of the Nestlé Academy launched in 2011, which tackles the industry skills issue at all levels offering internships, graduates, apprentices and placements.
Today’s announcement is part of Nestlé’s European Youth Employment initiative that was launched in Athens this morning, in the presence of Laurent Freixe, Head of Zone Europe at Nestlé SA, the EU commissioner for Education Androulla Vassiliou and the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. It is a European-wide initiative, by Nestlé - the first of its kind - to help young people across Europe, where youth employment is at crisis levels, get skilled and get hired.