Nedbank encourages YES interns to seize development opportunities

YES CEO Ravi Naidoo

YES CEO Ravi Naidoo

1st August 2023

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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Financial services firm Nedbank has encouraged the 2 782 young people who will participate in a year-long internship programme to make use of the opportunity to learn new skills and develop themselves for their professional careers.

Nedbank and its partners have provided these workplace learning opportunities as part of the private sector-led youth employment programme Youth Employment Service (YES).

"Each of you have shown determination, resilience and unwavering spirit to be here, which are important attributes for continuing success. Each of you has been selected from more than 70 000 applications for these year-long internship positions," Nedbank Group human resources executive Deborah Fuller said this week.

The YES initiative helps to improve the lives of youth in South Africa. Nedbank's role is to use its expertise as a financial services firm to improve the lives of individuals, stakeholders and society at large.

"You are beginning your journey with Nedbank and partners that will help you to gain critical work experience on the road to a successful career in years to come. Nedbank emphasises the growth of employees and development of their careers as part of our employee value proposition.

"Therefore, I urge you to take initiative, demonstrate proactivity and seek out additional tasks on projects. Seek guidance, ask questions and learn from the expertise of others to improve your skills and how you complete tasks," Fuller said to the new cohort on July 31.

She urged the youth to take advantage of the learning opportunities and the professional development opportunities made available to them through the initiative, which would stand them in good stead in their careers beyond this coming year's learnership.

Meanwhile, YES CEO Ravi Naidoo gave the young interns advice on leveraging the YES initiative's 35 mobile app learning modules – a new artificial intelligence (AI) training module will also be added within the next month – to develop their skills.

Each module that an intern completes is automatically reflected on his or her reference letter at the end of the internship period, he highlighted.

"We are looking to ramp up this part, and the more that you do, the more is reflected on the reference letter," he encouraged the youth.

The YES initiative has put 32 500 young people through its programmes during the 2022 to 2023 period and has put 117 000 youth through private sector workplace experience and learning programmes since its establishment in 2019.

"There are 1 517 companies, including Nedbank, that are part of the YES initiative, making it the largest social impact programme for jobs led by the private sector," Naidoo noted.

The overarching aim of the initiative is not only to support the sustainable growth of companies and their talent pipelines, but also for youth to use the skills they develop to help their communities and play a key role in developing the country, he emphasised.

"You are the game-changers that we need to help the country. This is why the private sector is willing to fund such programmes and support more people being placed into jobs in the private sector."

While about 40% to 50% of youth who complete YES programmes find jobs within a year or two, 10% to 20% set up their own businesses after the programmes, further positively impacting the country.

"It is important for each of you to demonstrate that you are willing and able to learn. It is also important to find a passion for the work, and even jobs that may not seem to be the most exciting still make an impact and difference on people's lives, and it is important to identify the aspects that you enjoy or motivate you and to learn more about them," he said.

Naidoo further encouraged the youth to engage with their mentors, managers and team leaders about what they aim to gain from the year-long internship, as the young interns can use learning resources from other partners in the YES programme, such as software multinational Microsoft's courses.

"Everyone in the YES programme, for example, can access Microsoft's coding, basics of AI programmes and coding certification, which we offer for free to youth in the programme.

"Use the [internship] opportunity to learn about and identify what you want to gain from the programme. Communicate your aims to colleagues, mentors and managers who, if they cannot support you, can often refer you to someone who does have the expertise or experience to help," Naidoo encouraged the youth.

"Intentionality is important and you must think about what you want to achieve in this programme and work to achieve it. Being known as someone who is proactive, who can get the job done and who is useful is an asset, not only in your work but throughout your career," he said.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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