Youth Employment Service a beacon of hope

The Youth Employment Service (YES) is creating critical opportunities for youth to receive training, to enter the labour market and receive an income to support themselves and their families.

The YES programme – which was launched in 2019 – works in partnership with the private sector to provide work experience for youth in order to bridge the gap between the years of experience employers are looking for and new entrants into the labour market.

“Many young people in South Africa find it difficult to get jobs because they don’t have any work experience. They come out of school, university or college with qualifications, but many employers are looking for people with experience.

“[For the past five years] YES has placed over 100 000 South Africans between the ages of 18 and 29 in local businesses for a year of work experience. Through YES, approximately R6 billion in youth salaries has been injected into the economy and has enabled participants to support their families,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa in his weekly newsletter.

Added to this, the YES programme also operates training hubs in several industries, including Information Technology, aquaponics, sustainable farming, culinary skills, textile manufacturing, ceramics and pottery and automotive manufacturing, and it also boasts a Drone Academy.

President Ramaphosa said that research suggests that some 40% of the youth who participate in the programme go on to be employed after its completion.

“One of the YES participants was placed at the Drone Academy, a hub in Alexandra township in Gauteng that offers training in the maintenance, repair, servicing and operation of drones used for business. Having completed his training, he is now employed as a systems integration engineer with a leading Netherlands-based chip manufacturing firm.

“One participant in the 2021 intake told YES how after completing the Multichoice Learnership Programme, she went on to secure a permanent job with a multinational firm based in Gauteng.

“What sets the YES programme apart is that it doesn’t just create meaningful jobs; it also creates value for employers that are able to facilitate the entry of more young South Africans into the mainstream of the economy,” the President said.

Ramping up

President Ramaphosa said government is ramping up its efforts to assist more youth to participate in the programme and to on-board more private companies to offer work experience opportunities.

“In this year already, YES has achieved a new record of 32 400 jobs. Currently, over 1 400 businesses participate in YES, and the aim is to increase the pace of placements as more companies come on board and more opportunities are made available.

“[We] congratulate YES and its partners for offering a chance at a better life to 100 000 young people. We can expect to see these numbers increase in the months and years ahead,” he said.

The President called on businesses to collaborate with government and “become part of this life-changing programme and to contribute to the recovery and reconstruction of our economy and society”.

“Government has put an enabling legislative environment in place to incentivise businesses to participate in youth employment creation. For example, both large and small qualifying enterprises can improve their Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment status by participating in YES. In addition, the Employment Tax Incentive reduces the costs to companies of hiring young people.

“As government, we will continue to play our part by putting in place regulatory and legislative tools to encourage business to hire more young South Africans.

“We have always said that the unemployment crisis can only be overcome if all social partners come on board. As the main source of job creation and retention in most countries around the world, including our own, the private sector’s involvement is critical,” he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency