According to the International Labor Organization, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected labor markets around the world, hurting young people more than other age groups. Even before the pandemic, it was always quite challenging for the average young African to enter the workforce with a first job and to transition the theories they have learned in school into practical skills. To respond to this situation, Nestlé (www.Nestle-CWA.com) Zone Asia, Oceania, and sub-Saharan Africa (Zone AOA), in 2020, kickstarted the “Nesternship” (Nestlé Internship) program offering a virtual working environment to youth.
Nesternship is an internship program that champions capacity building and personal development by offering young people practical work experience within Nestlé. These paid internships are open to tertiary level students, recent college or university graduates, and young people at the entry-level of their careers. The unique feature of Nesternship is that interns get the chance to work with Nestlé virtually – from their locations, while connected to a Nestlé team with a computer and internet access. Nesternship comes as an add-on to our regular internship programs, so the interns can also be physically present in offices where needed and where restrictions allow.
In Central and West Africa, the first batch of openings were advertised on Nestlé’s social media platforms (https://bit.ly/2VMuBHO) with applications open for two weeks in May this year. Over 3,000 applicants were assessed through a gamified experience with case studies and practical questions. After the top applicants went through screenings, the best candidates were selected and placed in various project teams ranging from Finance and Accounting, Sales, Information Technology, Communications and Marketing to Engineering. The duration of the internships is between one to six months based on the candidates’ availability.
In Ghana, approximately 30 interns from various tertiary institutions have started interning at the company’s head offices and factory site. Commenting on her experience, Ekua Williams a Human Resources intern, remarks, “My time at Nestlé has been nothing short of insightful, interesting, and fun. I find myself in a very supportive and rewarding environment. I learn and unlearn every day, and there’s no better place to do that than Nestlé.” The rollout will continue to other countries in the region like Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Senegal.
Fridah Muchina, Head of Human Resources, Nestlé Central and West Africa reiterates the company’s commitment to youth saying, “At Nestlé, we offer exciting opportunities to young people early in their careers in our region. Beyond Nesternship, we advertise all our vacancies on our job search page (https://bit.ly/3yFwzIx) where you can apply for a job at Nestlé.”
To further boost youth employability, Nestlé holds a series of monthly online seminars called Nestalk. The Nestalk webinars cover several topics including tips and tricks on how to create CVs, how to prepare for interviews, communication skills for workplace and business success, professional etiquette etc. Participation in Nestalk is open to all and free of charge. Young people interested in attending the upcoming sessions or viewing previous ones should access our online portal here (https://bit.ly/37DowQF). These interactive sessions are hosted by seasoned experts from within and outside Nestlé. The hosts share their experiences and have earnest conversations and Q&A sessions with the attendees.
These and many other youth-focused programs form part of the global Nestlé Needs YOUth initiative (https://bit.ly/3yFUFmP) which aims to equip young people with the skills they need to thrive in tomorrow’s workplaces, as business owners and as motivated and innovative farmers, who through sustainable practices, will feed the world.