President Cyril Ramaphosa during his fourth State of the Nation Address on Thursday made special mention of the Youth Employment Service (YES) and how far it has come in providing work opportunities for young people.
Since its inception in April 2018, YES has created more than 32 000 work experience opportunities.
To date, about 550 companies have partnered with the employment initiative to create the work experience opportunities, which are expected to inject more than R1.3-billion back into local economies through youth salaries.
On top of that is the multiplier effect that it creates in the form of additional income for households and business.
This makes YES one of the highest-impact jobs initiatives in the country, which is not funded by government but rather leverages a Department of Trade, Industry and Competition policy to reward companies.
The reward for participation in YES is a broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) level-up.
YES says more than 101 corporates have already achieved level-ups on their BBBEE scorecards through partnering with YES.
Companies can either participate by creating a paid work opportunity where people gain experience in the company for a year, or sponsor a year’s worth of salary for someone to work at a small or medium enterprise.
A year’s worth of experience goes a long way in equipping young people to pursue other opportunities afterward or get permanently employed, YES points out.
“The types of jobs YES is creating with partners are strategic and innovative, they have great potential for scale, social impact and longer-term career pathways where youth are placed in rhino protection and game ranging opportunities, in green and blue economy jobs, as community health workers changing the health outcomes of their villages and towns and in a range of other high-multiplier jobs.
“The benefits go way beyond just the job,” says YES CEO Dr Tashmia Ismail-Saville.