Nestlé has announced a commitment to create 20,000 positions for young people across Europe over the next three years.
The Nestlé needs YOUth Initiative will offer jobs to 10,000 people under the age of 30 and create 10,000 apprentice positions and traineeships by 2016.
"Today, one in four young people in Europe does not have a job," said Laurent Freixe, Nestlé Executive Vice-President and Zone Director for Europe, speaking at the Nestlé needs YOUth launch event in Athens, Greece, where more than half of those under the age of 25 are unemployed.
"Think of the impact on our society if these young people are left on the margins, without income, without a future, without hope," he said. "As we continue to grow and invest in Europe, we want to do all we can to strengthen and develop their skills, and improve their employability, regardless of their level of education."
Freixe added that the initiative, the first of its kind on such a scale, is built upon the company’s continued commitment to investing in Europe throughout the economic crisis.
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the initiative illustrated the unique role that the private sector could play in helping to resolve Europe’s jobs crisis.
"We have to recognize that whereas governments can facilitate and support job creation, only private companies can create jobs or training opportunities," he said.
The European Union’s Commissioner for Education, Androulla Vassiliou, also applauded Nestlé needs YOUth as an example of how the private sector can contribute to Europe’s recovery.
"I am delighted that Nestlé has launched this initiative to strengthen and develop the employability of young people across Europe,” Vassiliou said. “It contributes to our efforts so that young people are not left without hope or opportunity. 20,000 young people will get the chance to enter the job market, which shows that the private sector can clearly make a difference to tackle the problem of youth unemployment. We expect that such actions will trigger more similar initiatives from other stakeholders."
All of Nestlé’s European teams will contribute to the initiative – the company says it will hire 3,000 young people in France, 2,420 in Germany, 1,250 in Spain and 1,080 in Italy over the three-year period, including both direct recruitment and apprenticeship/traineeships positions.
All sectors will have roles, providing a range of opportunities for those interested in Nestlé’s wide variety of careers, including manufacturing, administration, Human Resources, sales, marketing, finance, engineering and R&D.
As part of the initiative, there will also be a small number of roles specifically designed to give those from southern Europe experience working for Nestlé abroad in northern parts of Europe.
In order to facilitate the transition between school and employment, the initiative will also include a Readiness for Work program, with career counseling, CV workshops and interview training at schools, colleges and at Nestlé sites.
Nestlé will also encourage its over 63,000 European suppliers to take part in the Nestlé needs YOUth Initiative by offering a job, apprenticeship or traineeship to young people, a program that will be called Alliance for Youth.
"Nestlé is globally successful also because we are successful in Europe," Freixe explained. "This initiative aims to harness the dynamism of its youth so that they can look, with confidence, to a brighter future."
In other Nestlé news, the company – along with Coca-Cola, Danone, Ford, Heinz, Nike, P&G, Unilever and WWF – announced this week the formation of the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance, which will support the responsible development of plastics made from plant material and guide the responsible selection and harvesting of feedstocks — such as sugar cane, corn, bulrush and switchgrass — used to make plastics from agricultural materials.