Companies making up the strong longlist were scrutinised by judges on the lookout for a meaningful engagement with economically poor, socially excluded and marginalised local people through employment opportunities and community interventions. The nominees were expected to go above and beyond the legal requirements in relation to wages, working conditions and skills development and be working with local producers to facilitate and grow their participation in the supply chain.
The award recognises that not only does Spier’s entry-level wages far exceed the industry-regulated minimum wages – we also have a comprehensive array of initiatives to tackle youth employment and enhance the wellbeing, skills and development of our staff. These include:
• Pinotage Youth Development Academy: Practical work experience is provided at Spier in various aspects of the business in this programme, which seeks to educate and employ disadvantaged youth in the wine industry.
• Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator: We recruit entry-level staff through Harambee, an initiative which sources, trains and places unemployed young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into their first jobs.
• Training: This year our annual training budget will be equivalent to 6% of annual salaries. In addition to job-related training, various programmes empower staff with skills, leadership and personal growth that extends well beyond required competencies.
• Individual Learning Spend: Each employee receives money to spend on their personal development. The stipend can be spent on anything that will empower our staff with skills and knowledge, boost health and wellbeing, foster financial wellness or enhance self-awareness and self-knowledge. Certain staff members may use this money to help pay for their children’s school fees.
• Clinic: Open five days a week, our staff clinic dispenses medication for free. Employees also have access to a social worker.
By December 2017, 82 % of Spier staff were living within a 30km radius of the farm – demonstrating our commitment to local employment – while more than 50% of entry level positions have been filled by first-time work entrants or vulnerable adults.
Spier’s impact in the wider community is visible through our support of Tree-preneurs – a project which has seen more than 190 people from some of the Cape’s poorest communities taught how to care for indigenous plants. They are given seedlings to nurture; once these have reached 30cm, they can be exchanged for livelihood support items such as food vouchers, clothing, tools and bicycles. Western Cape Tree-preneurs have grown 50 000 indigenous trees since the project began in the province.
The 2018 African Responsible Tourism Awards also awarded silver to Spier for Best for Global Goals Reporting. This is a new category which measures all entries against identified goals.
“We are delighted that our efforts to tackle local youth unemployment and nurture our staff’s wellbeing and potential has been recognised with these awards,” Spier CEO Andrew Milne says.
This is not the first time Spier has been recognised as an ethical employer. In 2003, our hotel was one of the first in South Africa to be awarded the Fair Trade in Tourism accreditation. In 2016, we were also awarded gold at the African Responsible Tourism Awards in the category of Best for Accommodation for Responsible Employment.