We’re thrilled to share that RCL FOODS’ Sugar team won first place in the “Best Project Targeting Youth” category at the esteemed AgriSETA Excellence Awards Gala Event held on 2 November 2023. These prestigious awards celebrate the extraordinary efforts of employers within the agricultural sector who are committed to nurturing the potential of our youth through various learning programmes and skill development initiatives.  

The broader SA Sugar Industry made its mark at the awards, securing two additional awards, with the Shukela Training Centre winning “Leading Private Service Provider” and SA Canegrowers winning “Best Project Targeting Women”. In total, SA Sugar Industry members won three of the seven awards.  

At RCL FOODS, We Grow What Matters by channeling our commitment to learning and development, consistently and strategically cultivating the talents that truly matter. Through its AgriSETA accredited Learning Academy, our Sugar business proudly serves as a catalyst for youth development which we achieve by providing apprenticeship (artisan development), internship (in-service students), learnerships and graduate placement to the vibrant and promising South African youth, with a particular focus on communities where our organisation operates, nurturing them as the future talents and skillsets that will drive our industry forward.   

To give you a glimpse of the impact we’re making through our Sugar business, the current programme participants include 56 apprenticeships, 38 internships, 20 graduate placements, 18 learnerships for people living with disabilities, 15 of which are youth, 45 sugar processing learnerships of which 32 are youth, 6 management trainees/EITs and 9 unemployed bursaries.  

Our commitment extends beyond the initial training phase. We are dedicated to integrating qualified artisans who have completed our apprenticeship programme into our workforce. Currently, approximately 67% of our artisans, foremen and planners are former apprentices who have grown within our business. We have seen remarkable success stories from in-service students that have ascended through the ranks to become Agriculture Section leaders, Junior Farm Managers, Farm Managers and Agronomists. 

The Engineers in Training (EIT) programme serves as a strategic pipeline feeder for our future engineers with over 70% of our active engineers having emerged from this programme. There’s a fascinating connection between funded bursars, EIT participants, and future plant engineers. Our achievements in these areas are made possible through strategic partnerships with esteemed stakeholders such as Ehlanzeni TVET College, University of Mpumalanga, Shukela Training Centre, South African Sugar Association (SASA) and the AgriSETA. 

This recognition is a testament to our unwavering commitment to Growing What Matters for our people and the communities we serve, and we look forward to continuing our journey of empowerment and development.