Nestlé Jamaica headquarters at Ferry Pen, St Andrew

Nestlé initiative to upskill Caribbean youths

Nestlé Jamaica headquarters at Ferry Pen, St Andrew

In an aggressive push to upskill youths, multinational food and beverage company Nestlé Limited via its ‘Nestlé Needs Youth’ initiative has pledged its support to helping over ten million young people around the world and in the Caribbean to have greater access to economic opportunities by 2030.

The programme, created in 2013 and later expanded in 2017, seeks to equip young people with the skills they need to prepare for the future of work and entrepreneurship. In the Caribbean the programme exists in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Barbados.

“If we make an impact for the youths, if we raise their employability and provide them with opportunities this could be good for communities. If we can integrate the next generation we will be able to embrace and leverage the challenges of the technological evolution and bringing more youths inside of organsiations,” said Laurent Freixe, chief executive officer (CEO) for Nestlé Zone Americas, in a recent interview with the Jamaica Observer.

Executive Vice-President and Chief Executive Officer — Zone Americas Laurent Freixe

Freixe, who also highlighted Nestlé’s upcoming Caribbean youth forum schedule to take place between October 5 and 6, noted that the programme aims to further continue the organisation’s mission of empowering youths in the region through the creation of programmes that will expand their capacities and competencies.

The forum, organised in partnership with Caricom, will provide mentorship and apprenticeship activities to over 10,000 youths of the region on topics ranging from personal branding, personal financial management and e-commerce for entrepreneurs. Several companies and organisations have also pledged their commitment to creating job opportunities for these Caribbean youths over the next three years.

Signage for the Caribbean Community, also known as Caricom. Nestlé Limited will partner with Caricom to provide mentorship and apprenticeship to over 10,000 youths in the region. (File photo)

“The Alliance for Youths, which is composed of 42 companies in the Caribbean islands, will pledge 1,000 jobs for the period 2022-25,” Freixe told the Caribbean Business Report.

He said that while his organisation has benefitted from its incorporation and embracing of youths and the future generation, there was the need for increased financial commitment and public-private partnerships.

“I think if we want to make an impact of scale, we need governments — national, regional, local and all those involved in the education system in creating a favourable environment to advance the development of human capital and the workforce. There are hundreds of millions of young people waiting and looking for opportunities and we can do something about it and even greater if we all partner to make an impact, as such we welcome more partnerships,” Freixe said.

The global food giant, which in the last few years have built out its over US$12 million office and distribution space in Jamaica located at Ferry Pen in St Andrew, has also built up a legacy in its service to communities, serving a large customer base through a wide range of products including popular brands such as Nescafé, Carnation milks, Cheerios, Nestum, among several others.

“With the new merger of our markets in the Caribbean to the Anglo-Dutch Caribbean region, we will be able to optimise synergies across all facets of our operations — from marketing to sales to communications. At the same time, maximising the talents of all of our employees,” Freixe said during the official opening ceremony of the facility back in July 2018.