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Unilever supports national campaign to help young unemployed into work

This September, young people from across the UK will have the opportunity to gain the skills they need to get into work when they visit Unilever offices, factories and R&D sites in London, Kingston, Leeds, Leatherhead (Surrey), Port Sunlight (Wirral), Trafford Park (Greater Manchester) and Crumlin (south Wales).

After two successful years, the food and grocery industry is coming together to support the nationwide campaign Feeding Britain’s Future for a third time. This comes as new research conducted by food and grocery research and training charity, IGD - of which Unilever is a member - revealed that Britain’s unemployed are finding it harder than ever to find work despite the economic recovery. To tackle this, the UK’s food and grocery industry, which is responsible for 1 in 7 jobs in the UK, is once again opening its doors to provide free skills training for thousands of unemployed people.

Since 2012, more than 200 companies have offered 25,000 training opportunities across the UK as part of the campaign. 97 per cent of participants report that they felt more confident about applying for a job and 89 per cent as more likely to consider a job in the food and grocery industry since they took part in the campaign’s workshops.

Through Unilever’s Feeding Britain’s Future sessions, which will reach 200 unemployed young people, Unilever HR managers will coach young people through CV and interview sessions to help them develop their employability skills and improve their chances of getting a job. As well as workshops to improve their soft skills, participants will have the chance to meet various Unilever employees across different departments to get an insight into business, and understand and discuss the range of careers available in the food industry.

Graeme Pitkethly, Chairman of Unilever UK & Ireland, said, “At Unilever we are committed at playing our part in tackling youth unemployment, which is one of the biggest challenges to sustainable livelihoods. We are delighted to be supporting Feeding Britain’s Future again this year as this is a great opportunity for young people to gain vital skills and prospects. Through our sessions, we will aim to give an insightful view into this industry and offer advice on what is required from prospective employees.

“The food and grocery industry is the UK’s biggest private sector employer providing 3.6m jobs and Unilever is a great example of just what a huge range of careers are on offer in the food industry, from head office roles like marketing, sales, finance and HR, to engineering and manufacturing in our factories, and food science in our R&D centres.”

Joanne Denney-Finch, Chief Executive, IGD, said, “Despite the UK’s unemployment rate beginning to show some signs of improvement this year, we still have millions of people without work. As the UK’s biggest employer, the food and grocery industry is committed to playing its part in tackling unemployment but more than that, our research shows we need to respond to appeals from the unemployed to gain valuable insight into the roles available in this industry and specific skills required to find jobs in this sector.

“Feeding Britain’s Future is in its third year and doing very well but our research highlighted the importance of our industry also offering advice before pupils leave school. The new ‘School Pilot’ element of the campaign not only gives companies the opportunity to inspire pupils on the variety of skills and opportunities our industry has to offer, but to also equip the next generation with the skills they need to find work.

“Currently there are 611,000 job vacancies in the UK waiting to be filled and a large potential workforce who just need the right information to help to get those jobs. That’s exactly what our campaign is all about and our research highlights how incredibly powerful the industry can be at inspiring young people to consider the food and grocery industry as a career path. Nottingham has been selected as this year’s pilot city though we have ambitious plans to roll this out across the country in future.”

The campaign will also be running a ‘School Pilot’ which will see major food and grocery companies go into schools to offer employability skills training to 13 to 17-year-olds and alert teachers to the variety of careers available in the sector. Depending on the success of this year’s trials IGD have ambitious plans to roll out this pilot across the country in the future.

This follows IGD research findings that Britain’s unemployed think employers should supplement schools’ careers advice with tailored employability skills, to help young people better understand what jobs might suit them and how to apply for them.

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About Unilever

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries. Our products are present in 7 out of 10 homes globally and are used by over 2 billion people on a daily basis. We work with 171,000 colleagues around the world, and we are on track to generate annual sales of €50 billion in 2012. 

Over half of our company’s footprint is in the faster growing developing and emerging markets (56% in 2011). Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known brands such as Knorr, Persil , Dove, Hellmann’s, TRESemmé, Lipton, Sure, Wall’s and Lynx.

Our ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increasing our positive social impact. We are committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling our growth from our environmental impact. Supporting our three big goals are more than 50 time-based targets. See more on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at www.unilever.com/sustainable-living.

Unilever has been recognised in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 14 consecutive years. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. In 2011 Unilever led the Climate Counts Company Scorecard and for the second year topped the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the GlobeScan / SustainAbility latest annual survey (2012). The company is an employer of choice in many of the countries in which it operates and is seen as a symbol for innovation and leadership development.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.co.uk

Katya Bridges - UK and Ireland Media Relations Manager

T: 01372 945925
M: 07785 450287

katya.bridges@unilever.com

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