The Hollywood Group continues to focus on the growth of our own team through our skills development programme. The appointment of a dedicated and experienced national training co-ordinator in 2012 has brought another level of professionalism to this aspect of our business. Each of the six regions in which we operate has a full-time training facilitator and four of the regions now have a dedicated training facility. In a country of high unemployment, particularly amongst the unskilled youth, we have taken it upon ourselves to employ capable young people who will grow with us. We are proud of our track record and we strive to continue to add value to the communities we service by not only providing a living for the team, but to develop them on a personal and professional basis. Hollywood is extremely proud of the fact that it has invested in excess of R2.6 million in skills development during the 2012 financial year.
Hollywood has extended the social responsibility initiative introduced last year where branches took on the duty of identifying and selecting worthy causes in their areas and identified the individual needs of those organisations. This initiative worked extremely well in 2012, not only in terms of providing these worthy organisations with some of their needs, but in engendering a sense of community within the Hollywood team. So much so that it has become company policy and very much a part of our culture. Working with these projects has made our lives more meaningful and the good work has had a positive impact on our communities, punters, and team which is evidenced in the testimonials that follow. It has certainly helped our team members develop into better team leaders and we take great pride in the continued success of this programme.
Over the last year we accelerated our growth by opening a further 20 branches, expanding our footprint in Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Eastern Cape and Western Cape - 20 more organisations will benefit from this project. Furthermore, we can proudly say that we have reached a milestone of 51 retail branches nationally, increasing our team complement to over 1500 members.
We once again express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the organisations for their invaluable and committed work in our communities and to the individual Hollywood branches for wholeheartedly supporting the programme and making it their own. Finally, I would like to thank our valued, loyal customers and our
dedicated team members who make all this possible.
Thank you also to our 19 trainers, 7 jockeys, 1 work rider and 600 grooms for their
support in flying the purple flag and being part of our team.