With youth unemployment remaining a major issue in South Africa, the country is in dire need of programmes that unleash the potential of our youth and provides them access to employment opportunities. In 2011, Merchants made a strategic decision to look for ways to address the issue of youth unemployment, with the goal to employ 25% of our agent base from communities which would previously have not had access to the employment opportunities we can offer, by 2018.
Merchants partners with Columba Leadership
to support our objectives in ensuring we are able to make a true impact to the youth unemployment situation. We view this approach as a long term, sustainable approach to address an ever-growing need.
Columba Leadership’s core work is with young people from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, many of whom live in poverty, in child-headed households and in communities beset by HIV/AIDS.
Merchants has chosen to work with Columba Leadership Academy as they work with principals, educators and local community members to engage young people in a programme of leadership development that elicits and unleashes their latent potential to be agents of positive social change.
Many of the young people we work with do not believe in their own capacity to make a positive difference in their own lives or in their schools and communities. Having an income offers the opportunity to change the reality of an individual’s and their family’s current circumstances.
Merchants believes that leadership potential is within each individual and that effective youth development will empower young people by drawing out their inner greatness and unlocking their individual talent.
Says Jennifer Algie, People Director at Merchants:
“They have a belief in themselves, so they are confident. These individuals have headed up some projects at school, they’ve taken leadership, they’ve been in service to others and that’s what makes them stand out.”
Watch the #FutureLeaders video here