Facilities management company Servest has revised its employment and entrepreneurial incubation policies in favour of young people under the age of 29, with the company indicating that this is in response to employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for young people in South Africa presenting a grim prognosis, despite efforts by government and the private sector.
It points out that youth unemployment in the country stands at a very high rate of 66.5%, while statistics from the World Bank show that South Africa is part of a continent on which 60% of the population is under the age of 25.
Servest human resource director Vianca Mc Millan says turning the fortunes of Africa around requires an educated crop of young leaders that are socially responsible, productive, innovative and responsive to the competing demands of modern society.
Servest posits that the facilities management sector has the biggest potential to turn around unemployment through the various sectors in the industry, including cleaning and hygiene, catering and security services.
Those professions all have minimal entry requirements and could help by absorbing some of the country’s unemployed youth, the company outlines.
“This is why Servest has a recruitment policy in place that puts young South Africans front and centre.
“We are acutely aware of the importance of addressing youth unemployment, hence we have put policies in place that require all our operations to get approval from management if they want to recruit anyone above the age of 29.
“This policy reaffirms our commitment and support for government’s drive to empower young people and it supports efforts to address youth unemployment in the country, which continues to present huge challenges to the economy,” Mc Millan says.
Mc Millan notes that young people aged between 18 and 29 make up a quarter of the total workforce at Servest; and there is a need for more companies to explore these kinds of recruitment policies to ensure the private and public sectors work collectively to address youth unemployment.
In addition to these employment policies, Mc Millan says the company also offers young, aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to start their own business through its enterprise supplier development (ESD) programme.
“These can range from a simple car wash establishment, to catering and cleaning services and to more complex business support solutions. If you're thinking about starting a business in hard or soft services, Servest will help turn your business idea into a successful business. We are even prepared to be your first client,” Mc Millan enthuses.
Mc Millan says that, as a company that is mindful of the skills gap in the country, Servest has established several entrepreneurship support initiatives such as the Innovation Forum, a safe space that allows young people to share their ideas and receive the support that will help them establish commercially viable business ventures.
“In addition, Servest also has a programme called Lesipho Trust that provides funding to social entrepreneurs whose business ventures are making a meaningful social change in their respective communities,” informs Mc Millan.