Unilever Wins:
‘Best Innovation In Skills Development’ Award

Johannesburg, 7 November 2016


Recently certified as the number one Top Employer in Africa, Unilever, has been recognized for their efforts in skills development at the CHIETA 2015/16 National Recognition Awards Ceremony. The FMCG giant received the ‘Best Innovation in Skills Development’ award for the Unilever and Wits University Engineering Program which was launched in January of 2016.

“We are honoured to be recognized for our efforts in making sure that we groom future engineers that are ready to enter the workplace and make an impact,” says Mechell Chetty, Unilever’s Human Resources Vice President: Africa. “Over the next four years our Engineering program will have given 120 students an opportunity to work at Unilever’s newest state of the art Khanyisa factory, in Boksburg, to gain much needed on-the-job training and practical experience while developing their technical and problem solving skills. Thereafter the program will cover the further two years of tuition fees to graduation. The program addresses not only the financial constraints of these students, but substantially improves their chances of completion, through outlook, exposure, mentorship and networks, which are critical but often overlooked key success factors in tertiary education”

Competent engineering is essential for a wide-range of basic needs, which is critical to meeting South Africa’s National Development Plan goals. The reality however is that South Africa is severely under-engineered and one of the biggest challenges this sector faces is the shortage of new skills. According to the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), in South Africa one engineer services 3,166 people, compared to Brazil’s 227 and Malaysia’s 543 per engineer. The discrepancy in this benchmark points to one thing: urgent skills development is required to meet the country’s growing infrastructure demands.

“This award is proof that industry, academia and government need to work together to solve the challenges faced by the country. The R150 000.00 prize money that forms part of the award will be spent on discretionary learning projects,” concluded Chetty.

About Unilever:

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2 billion consumers a day. It has 169,000 employees and generated sales of €53.3 billion in 2015. Over half (58%) of the company’s footprint is in developing and emerging markets. Unilever has more than 400 brands found in homes around the world, including Persil, Dove, Knorr, Domestos, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Wall’s, PG Tips, Ben & Jerry’s, Marmite, Magnum and Lynx.

Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan commits to:

  • Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.
  • Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030.
  • Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.

Unilever was ranked number one in its sector in the 2015 Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In the FTSE4Good Index, it achieved the highest environmental score of 5. It led the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the 2016 GlobeScan/SustainAbility annual survey for the sixth year running. Unilever was ranked the most sustainable food and beverage company in Oxfam’s Behind the Brands Scorecard in 2016 for the second year.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com. For more information on the USLP: www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/

About Unilever South Africa

Unilever South Africa (Pty Ltd) is one of the largest FMCG companies in South Africa. The Company is over 100 years old, with brands like Sunlight, OMO, Lux, Knorr, Vaseline, Shield, Sunsilk, Flora etc. that are household names throughout the country. Unilever South Africa has over 3 500 direct employees based across two offices and seven manufacturing locations in South Africa. The company has a created a further 10, 000 plus indirect jobs through its value chain. It is rated as one of South Africa’s best employers. For more information visit –www.unilever.co.za

Media contact:

Unilever: External Affairs and Media Relations Manager

Barry Dijoe