South Africa is a land of abundant sunshine and endless potential – especially among our youth. They are our future innovators, creators, movers and shakers. Yet their potential is not matched by access to opportunity.

That’s why Mr Price Foundation is challenging you to change tomorrow, by jumping into the JumpStart Challenge 2023.

“It’s that time of year when we let the warmth flow out of our hearts and into the lives of unemployed youth, by committing to the JumpStart Challenge,” said Yurissa Sawers, head of Mr Price Foundation’s JumpStart programme.

The JumpStart Challenge is an event with purpose. Every rand raised goes directly to the foundation’s JumpStart skills development programmes, to empower young unemployed South Africans with skills for the retail world.

The JumpStart Challenge can be tackled virtually, anywhere in the world, from 27 February to 5 March 2023. The physical JumpStart Challenge is hosted at Holla Trails in Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal, with mountain bike events on 4 March; and walk, run, and jog events on 5 March.

The JumpStart Challenge is open to all ages and abilities. There’s a distance for everyone, and it’s pram-friendly and paw-friendly.

“Our goal is for 2 000 people to enter the JumpStart Challenge so that we can develop more youth with work readiness skills. I challenge all South Africans, including corporates and our JumpStart partners, to take up the Challenge and make a greater social impact,” said Yurissa, who will be jumping into the Challenge with her three amazing daughters.

Launched in 2007, JumpStart is Mr Price Foundation’s most successful and longest-standing programme. It identifies suitable candidates and boosts their employability by providing them with a blend of work experience, life skills and industry-specific theory. It also closes the loop by linking candidates to career opportunities in operations and supply chains within the retail sector.

Close to 24 000 youth have completed JumpStart training in the past five years. In the 2022 financial year alone, JumpStart developed 6 149 youth – of whom 3 069 (50%) found employment with the foundation’s employer partners, including Miladys, Mr Price Home, Mr Price, Sheet Street and Mr Price Sport, as well as the SPAR Group.

“South Africa has an alarming youth unemployment rate of 66.5% (according to Stats SA, Q1 2022). Africa also has the youngest and fastest-growing youth population in the world. We can begin to unlock the potential of this growing workforce through work readiness and access to economic opportunities,” said Yurissa.

A talent development specialist with a passion for learning and development, Yurissa joined Mr Price Group in 2012 as a psychometrist. In 2019, she joined the team at Mr Price Foundation, where she has been effecting real change for youth ever since.

A strong leader, Yurissa is purpose-driven, determined, and fully engaged in her purpose of unlocking career potential in unemployed youth.

“My attraction to learning and development stems from my connection to people and wanting to see others grow and reach their potential. Market forces are key to JumpStart programmes: we match training with demand. We also continuously measure our impact and reshape our programmes to ensure they are relevant and offer youth opportunities to solve their needs.”

Yurissa loves playing soccer and running and is always up for a challenge – and the JumpStart Challenge in particular.

“Nothing is more powerful than our South African spirit of Ubuntu. Let’s use the JumpStart Challenge as an opportunity to create a more equitable, inclusive world. When we put our hearts and heads together, there is no single problem that we can’t begin to address,” said Yurissa.

ENTRIES ARE OPEN

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