Youth Employment Initiative Launched in South Africa
Caterpillar Foundation and the International Youth Foundation Join Forces to Improve Job Prospects
Johannesburg, South Africa - To address the challenges young people face in South Africa when entering the labor force or starting their own business, the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and the Caterpillar Foundation have launched EquipYouth, a program that will provide 720 local youth with a package of services that includes technical job and life skills training as well as post-training support. The program, which is gaining valuable corporate support from Barloworld Equipment South Africa (the local Cat® dealer), will be implemented through St. Anthony’s Education Centre, a South African organization established to address the educational and training needs of vulnerable youth and adults in the community.
Through EquipYouth, participants will receive 24 weeks of hands-on training focused on preparing them to acquire certification as electricians, welders, automotive mechanics, bookkeepers, and plumbers. Youth will also receive a life skills training component that includes such issues as workforce readiness, community engagement, and strategies to become self-sufficient. Upon graduation, trainees will register with the job and career counseling office at St. Anthony’s Education Centre where they will receive ongoing support in finding internships and employment opportunities.
"We are excited about the tremendous possibilities EquipYouth will create for these young people," said Caterpillar Corporate Public Affairs Director Jim Baumgartner. “Giving unemployed youth options for a sustainable employment future closely aligns with the Caterpillar Foundation focus on access to education. We are proud to support IYF in its efforts to reach young people with technical training and life skills." Terry Dearling, Executive Director, Human Resources at Barloworld Equipment, added: “As a leading South African company, Barloworld has a responsibility and a desire to help build our nation. That means helping its citizens to obtain the skills they need to become active in the economy – particularly those who simply don’t have the means or the support to achieve their dreams.”
The South Africa program is part of a global EquipYouth three-year partnership between IYF and the Caterpillar Foundation that will provide 8,000 young people in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Russia, Singapore, and South Africa with market-relevant life and job skills training along with internships, on-the-job training and employment placement services.