From excluded to employed
Trafigura Foundation Director, Vincent Faber, explains the pressing need to lift those marginalised by society out of exclusion and into employment - and how philanthropy can sometimes help where politicians can’t.
Productivity. Dignity. Recognition.
According to Vincent Faber, these are the precious rewards of employment. The transformative power of this trio can help combat crime, dismantle gang culture and heal those traumatised by disadvantaged or broken backgrounds. Often, it boils down to the simple fact that if you’re willing and working, you’re more likely to contribute to, rather than disrupt the community. But what place do corporations have in these social issues? Vincent offers a critical insight:
“Rather than purely going after profits, companies have a duty to give back to the societies in which they operate. It is our responsibility to help nurture the very systems, schools and structures that shape the youths that all become our future employees.”
The above three qualities are precisely the values that many of the Foundation’s programme partners seek to cultivate. In places like the Work & Learn Centre in New Orleans for example, young people, often suffering from lack of opportunity, are not only taught new practical skills, but are trained in essential ‘soft’ skills. Turning up on time, creating relationships and appropriate workplace behavior can make the difference between simply landing a job and successful, sustained employment.
Trafigura Work & Learn Centre, New Orleans
Approximately 25% of the Foundation’s philanthropic portfolio supports programmes around employability. This is also the domain where Trafigura’s own expertise and corporate insights complements the work of these social enterprises.
A case in point is the Trafigura Charity Committee in Johannesburg, which works with local organization FXB International to provide vocational training to disadvantaged youths from townships. Within the scheme, 16 young people shadowed Trafigura employees, gaining a taste of the challenges and expectations of working life.
In the UK, the Foundation supports an initiative from the National Autistic Society. Young autistic adults are paired with jobs that match their unique abilities, typically in posts that require a meticulous, detailed and methodical mindset. This helps an oft-misunderstood group gain a foothold in the workplace, along with independence and a welcome route out of welfare.
National Autistic Society, United Kingdom
At a broader level, the Trafigura Foundation is working to sensitise the Group’s subsidiaries and recruitment partners to the benefits of collaborating with, rather than against, excluded and disadvantaged groups. Indeed, the work of these programmes goes a long way to transforming many marginalised, and sometimes demonised, individuals from tax users into tax payers, playing an active part in society.
Progressively changing attitudes could result in a paradigm shift towards a more humanistic society, and Vincent concludes with a hopeful vision:
“Collectively, if we all want our futures to look bigger, brighter and better, it is time to transform the vicious cycle of exclusion into a virtuous circle of inclusion.”