Nedbank has agreed to sponsor 3 315 youths between the ages of 18 and 29 for paid work experience over the 12 months from May 1.
This forms part of the bank’s funded skills development programme run with the Youth Employment Service (YES).
The agreement, dubbed the CEO Pledge, was signed by Nedbank CEO Mike Brown and YES CEO Dr Tashmia Ismail-Saville at the YES Kago Green Engine hub, in Tembisa, on Friday.
The hub was the first of 100 planned to be launched by YES across the country. The hubs are smart infrastructure solutions that aim to address youth unemployment challenges by bringing opportunities to the doorsteps of underserved communities.
In 2018, Nedbank gave R5.9-million towards the development of the Kago Green Engine hub, where the focus is largely on aquaponics farming and cooking training.
This time, Nedbank will provide paid work experience for the youths at its banks, as well as at its placement partners – nonprofit environmental organisation Wildtrust, which will take on 1 600 candidates; marketing company Tradeway, which will take on 150 candidates; talent development company UnlockD, which will take on 800 candidates; and education nonprofit organisation ORT South Africa, which will take on 400 candidates.
Brown explained that these companies would provide hands-on training and experience in their respective fields so that candidates have relevant experience that is in demand in the market, since the youth often receive multiple learnerships without actual work available in the market, or companies prefer to hire candidates with work experience.
“As an organisation operating in the community, we understand that the success of our business is intricately linked to the success of the communities we serve. We embrace our role in society as a change agent and contributor to nationbuilding,” he said.
YES was launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in March 2018, with the main aim of the service being to establish partnerships between community, business and government to provide tailor-made practical learning opportunities for the youth, as well as sustainable job opportunities afterwards.
South Africa has an unemployment rate of 27%, with youth employment sitting at 52.2%. According to YES, half of the unemployed youth have completed Grade 12 but are largely unemployable in the formal sector unless they receive relevant training and work experience.
YES aims to facilitate employment for one-million people in three years’ time. So far, it has managed to create 16 500 jobs.
Ismail-Saville called on companies across the country to join the YES pledge and be part of the nationbuilding and inclusive economic growth story.
Companies can contribute either by sponsoring a paid work experience in a small business or can take on paid work experience candidates in their own company, all of which contribute to their black economic empowerment scorecard.