We treat people with care and respect. We are committed to our people and communities and their development, and we value their diverse and unique contributions. We are focused on maintaining a work environment where our employees can develop and thrive and work with our communities to create mutually beneficial relationships.
Vergelegen creates employment for 176 fulltime employees with an additional 80 contractors during the harvesting season. The estate is already committed to local employment and supports local suppliers as much as possible. The alien clearing project relating to the Vergelegen Nature Reserve also created 137 jobs per year in its duration and now creates an average of 50 jobs yearly for the maintenance phase.
Vergelegen provides opportunities for improvement through ongoing skills based training and educational opportunities. internships in the hospitality, horticulture and wine production areas. In addition, the virtual Centre of Learning Excellence, that networks with local education institutions, supports post graduate biodiversity studies at Vergelegen. To date there have been 22 formal studies including 7 Undergraduate, 10 Postgraduate and 5 PHD (of which 17 were from local institutions).
Some of the initiatives we offer:
The purpose of the Hub is to provide high school youth living on the property with access to laptops and internet under the guidance of a part-time educator, helping with school related work and projects.
Employment and business exposure. Imibala Trust – The Imibala Trust is a registered South African Non-profit Organisation (NPO) which works with children of school-age whose lives are affected by impoverished circumstances. The Trust provides a platform to offer programmes that make a substantial and measurable difference in the lives of the children, currently and as they prepare for their lives after school. All children, regardless of race or creed, are assisted through these programmes. A new programme to assist post school youth to adapt to a working environment has recently been established and Vergelegen has committed to three paid internships that run annually for four months. Our current three interns are being exposed to the respective working environments on the property.
We believe that all injuries are preventable – our aim is that ‘zero harm’ comes to those who work within and around our operations. We take personal responsibility to maintain a safe and secure place of work – our operations should have fundamentally safe, well designed and well maintained plants, equipment and infrastructure, with effective safety management systems. We comply with all applicable safety laws in addition to our own policies and requirements. We ensure that all our staff are appropriately trained to manage their own safety, the safety of their colleagues, and that safety standards are consistently applied across our operations. We are rigorous in learning from incidents and in preventing recurrences. We expect our consultants, agents, contractors and suppliers to follow our policies and requirements on safety.
Providing healthy work environments is a legal and moral imperative for us and constitutes an investment in the productivity of our business. All employees and contractors should be able to return home fit and well at the end of each shift and remain so during the course of their working lives. Our most important focus is on eliminating health hazards at their source. We believe that investing in wellness programs that support healthy lifestyles and emotional resilience promotes employee engagement and productivity. We also endeavor to support employees who are managing long-term physical or psychological conditions. We believe that contractors should benefit from the same health standards as employees. We comply with all applicable health laws in addition to our own policies and requirements.