The LeadHERship programme targets women aged between 18 and 24, where almost two-thirds of individuals in this age group are not economically active, with over 70% female. This programme provides these women with work experience, skills, and a monthly income to enhance their employability.
Since the programme kicked off in February 2022, 109 women have been placed into non-profit organizations for a 12-month programme and Cohort 2 is set to commence in April 2023 with an additional 50 women participating in the programme.
The initiative has already made a promising start, with 35 women who have secured full-time employment even before the end of the program. In contrast, many others have secured fixed-term and freelance contracts.
"This is a phenomenal result so quickly after their graduation, and we couldn't be more excited for the future of these young women," said Pizza Hut MD Ewan Davenport.
One graduate, Lindiwe, said she couldn't be more grateful for the programme, having been monitored by a senior leader at Pizza Hut and she has since secured a placement at an Intellectual Property law firm as a legal administrative assistant.
"My goals and dreams are to impact society profoundly, and I now feel so much closer to achieving this," said Lindiwe.
The LeadHERship initiative has placed these young women in diverse industries within non-profit organizations, such as health services with Youth Health for Africa, which will see young women work in clinics, hospitals, and communities,
This also includes creative entrepreneurial collectives with YCC (Youth Content Collective, which helps turn young black creatives into micro-entrepreneurs, literacy programs with Click Learning which deploys online English literacy programs in underprivileged primary schools across South Africa, and Youth@work, which provides experience across the arts, entertainment, recreation and education sectors.
The LeadHERship initiative aligns with Pizza Hut's global social purpose framework, An Equal Slice for Everyone, which seeks to promote equality and a world where everyone has a seat at the table.
To celebrate the graduation of the first cohort, Pizza Hut collaborated with ten of the young women from the program to showcase the empowerment that comes with receiving their first paycheck. An interactive 3D gallery featuring these moments of empowerment can be accessed by scanning a QR code on the programme's website.