Bacardi, the largest privately held spirits company in the world, is bringing Shake Your Future – its free, professional bartender training programme for disadvantaged young adults – to South Africa for the first time.
Participants of the programme will receive training to develop a career in the art of bartending and mixology, and invaluable work experience in some of the industry’s top bars and restaurants – giving them the chance for a fresh start in life.
The South Africa launch marks a milestone in the ongoing expansion of the programme, which originally launched in 2018. To date, Shake Your Future has trained young adults in France, Spain, and Italy, and 80% of graduates have secured successful careers in the hospitality industry.
The 16-week Shake Your Future course kicks off today in South Africa, with 20 aspiring bartenders – 10 in Gauteng and 10 in the Western Cape – and plans in place for future programme rollouts in the coming months.
According to a report by Statistics South Africa, the country’s youth unemployment is at an incredibly high rate of 66.5%. Meanwhile, talent in the Ho.re.ca (Hotels, Restaurants, and Cafes) industry has been one of the most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a challenge that family-owned Bacardi has recognised and is committed to playing a part in resolving. Through its Shake Your Future program, the company is nurturing new talent and providing them with opportunities within the industry, while also supporting its on-trade partners who are struggling to find skilled staff.
“Shake Your Future allows us to give back and support the needs of bar owners searching for talented bartending staff by introducing new, exciting talent for the future,” says Yeshene Singh, Country Manager for Bacardi in South Africa. “We’re proud to bring this truly transformative programme to South Africa – we’ve seen it change lives and build a brighter future for our graduates in other countries, and now we can’t wait to do the same here in Gauteng and the Western Cape.”
Bacardi has partnered with Managed People Solutions (MPS) and Thirst Bar Services in South Africa on candidate selection and creation of a programme that provides students with the best practical experiences in bartending, including the art of bartending and mixology, and practical behind the bar skills.
Graduates will receive a globally recognised certification with Wine and Spirit Education Trust Level 1 accreditation, which will afford them career opportunities in the hospitality industry and beyond.