For the past eight years, SPAR South Africa has worked with the Mr Price Foundation to empower young South Africans through Jump Start, a successful work readiness programme. The foundation addresses the problem of youth unemployment, one of the country’s biggest challenges. The programme builds a robust talent pipeline for entry-level positions in the retail sector. At the heart of the Jump Start programme is the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty and inequality. “The empowerment of the youth of our country will be the success of our country going forward”, said Graham ‘O Connor, CEO of SPAR South Africa.
Since 2008, the programme has provided final year students with critical entry-level skills and linked them to job opportunities in retail and supply chain. This has resulted in more than 35,000 unemployed youth being trained, with over 13,000 careers being jump-started in the retail industry. SPAR South Africa has invested well over ZAR10 million (€542,000) in the programme, ensuring that it recruits youth who are passionate about the retail industry and can connect with SPAR’s vision, values and culture.
Siphokazi Mangesi, a store clerk in the inventory department of the SPAR Distribution Centre in Port Elizabeth is a shining example of the partnership outcomes between the SPAR Group and the Mr Price Foundation’s work readiness programme, Jump Start.
Mr Price Foundation Virtual Challenge 2020
SPAR South Africa is also supporting the Mr Price Foundation Challenge, a global virtual run and cycle event which will be staged on 5 and 6 December 2020. This is an evolution of the previously successful Ride with Purpose two-day event that has raised over ZAR5 million (€271,000) for the Mr Price Foundation’s education and skills development programmes.
Due to the impact and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 event has evolved into the Mr Price Foundation Challenge. In partnership with the world-renowned Comrades Marathon, the virtual event gives people around South Africa and the world the opportunity to uplift the youth by running or riding various distances. For cyclists, a wide variety of options with distances ranging from 10km, 45km, 90km, 303km and 606km are open. Historically, the event was only open to less than 100 elite cyclists but this edition presents the possibility of thousands of cyclists of all ages from around the world participating. The Challenge also offers runners the opportunity to complete 3km, 7km or 21km, making it a fun family event.
“As the Mr Price Foundation, we strongly believe in joining hands with other like-minded individuals and entities. We firmly understand that we can’t do this on our own and we need to join hands with different people who share our common purpose,” said Karen Wells, Head of the Mr Price Foundation.