Logistics and supply chain leader Imperial Logistics has added impetus to its drive to address South Africa’s skills deficit and youth unemployment by extending the reach of its graduate development programme and partnering with local government and TETA (Transport Education Training Authority) in new workplace experience programmes.
Training and development executive, Colette Wessels, explains that the group’s graduate development programme previously focused on honours and degree students from traditional universities, and was primarily pitched at a junior management level.
“We realised, however, that we were missing the opportunity to reach another group of individuals who can add great value to our company and whose training and development can help to address the country’s critical skills gap.”
By partnering with the Universities of Technology and FET Colleges, Imperial is reaching graduates who may have a non-degree qualification but who can fill important operational positions across a range of levels in the organisation.
“Our aim is to upskill these graduates though our programmes and learnerships in order to prepare them for roles across our environment and industry and enable Imperial and the industry as a whole to reap the benefits.”
Imperial’s graduate development programme provides graduates with relevant on-the-job experience and exposure through job rotation, work assignments and special projects. Opportunities are offered to graduates in disciplines that include logistics and supply chain, industrial engineering, IT, human resources and CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants). As a CIMA accredited partner, Imperial is able to offer training to CIMA students.
In addition to extending its graduate development programme, the Imperial Logistics Academy – the group’s dedicated training facility – has also entered into partnerships with the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality and TETA (Transport Education Training Authority) that have this year provided internship opportunities for 143 young South Africans.
“The City of Ekurhuleni, working with the Department of Economic Development, chose Imperial as one of its partners in its graduate placement and youth development programme. With funding provided by the municipality, we initially took on 19 graduates who we put through our learnerships and who were provided with workplace experience at Imperial group companies.
At the end of the 12-month programme, we were able to offer permanent employment to 14 of them. In March, we took on a further 43 graduates as part of our partnership with the municipality and they are currently placed at our various operations in our transport and warehousing supervision learnership programme.”
Imperial’s TETA funded project last year saw 45 interns gain invaluable workplace experience. Earlier this year, 100 new interns joined the programme.
Imperial’s bursary programme is another way in which the organisation is helping to address the skills shortage. It is offered to second year students who are excelling academically. In 2014, Imperial had 15 bursars, eight of whom have now been employed in the group and the remainder are continuing their studies.
“We are committed to developing a pipeline of talent and employment opportunities for the long term benefit of Imperial Logistics, our industry and the country,” she concludes.