Securing future supplier success with Tesco's Africa Community Fund
Tesco supports unemployed youth in South Africa to strengthen the fruit production industry.
Watching 20 students receive their diplomas and graduate was hugely satisfying. Until recently these were young people with limited job opportunities and an uncertain future. Seeing their graduation gowns and listening to them speak, it's clear they're filled with hope for the future.
Agriculture is becoming devoid of young enthusiastic professionals in South Africa. Farming is no longer considered an attractive employment option. Suppliers are concerned for the future security of the industry. Tesco wanted to change these perceptions and support our farming communities.
We found an NGO with a programme of personal development and farming vocational skills. The Pinotage Youth Development Academy (PYDA) ran specific wine production training with practical experience. Its aim was to make unemployed youngsters more employable. The PYDA has a good record of success in the wine sector. We wanted to replicate that programme in fruit production. We developed a 10-month programme with a qualification in agriculture sales and marketing. Two of our top fruit suppliers Fruitways and Trucape joined as workplace partners.
We recruited students from the Grabouw area, the centre of the apple and pear industry in South Africa. It's a community in extreme poverty with 40% of adults unemployed and 11% of people have no form of income. Education levels are low and it has one of the highest levels of tuberculosis (TB) in any town in the world. The PYDA targeted 18-25-year-old’s who wanted to commit to change.
The project is funded by a partnership of Tesco (through its Africa Community Fund) and the Department for International Development. Tesco colleagues also shared their fruit growing expertise through workshops and industry events.
I want to congratulate the students and wish them well. Their graduation means they'll enter the South African fruit sector as a new generation of young professionals. All 20 graduates are currently going through interviews to secure employment.