In an aim to create one million new 12-month work opportunities for young people in South Africa, the Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative has already found placements for 4600 youth in 2018.
The YES programme, an initiative between business, government, labour, civil society and young people, launched earlier this year. Under the programme, businesses will create one-year paid positions for youth aged between 18 and 35 with a minimum paid stipend of R3,500 a month.
According to Tashmia Ismail-Saville, CEO of YES, at the moment their focus is on getting corporate partners onboard. She says a total of 248 companies in South Africa have joined YES to place youth for high quality 12-month work experiences within their own organisation or they’ve sponsored a youth placement in an SME (preferably within their own supply chain).
The companies also have an option to help fund projects that support business growth within YES’ hubs.
“They’re an integral part of the solution; we need them to help provide placements for youth work opportunities, technology and knowledge support and funding to grow the infrastructure needed to support the YES programme.”
Another highlight in 2018 was the launch of YES’ first Community Hub, which is situated in Tembisa, Johannesburg. The Hub’s aim is to provide business infrastructure in rural areas and township communities.
Ismail-Saville says in December, with the help of sponsors, they launched a new aquaponics facility at the hub. “Through this facility, we’re using the run off water and product from the fish tanks as nutrients to grow lettuce and other veg without soil: they’re both being farmed in a single, highly efficient, integrated system.
We look at the YES’ plans for 2019 to combat unemployment, creating one million jobs for youth.
The YES initiative aims to establish 100 community hubs across the country. The hubs form part of YES’ SMME Development Strategy, which has three focus areas housed in YES Community Hubs – business development, route to market and skills training.
“We will use lessons learned from our Tembisa hub to roll out similar hubs across the country, particularly targeting townships and starting in high potential areas such as Mpumalanga,” says Ismail-Saville.
She says they’re going to target townships and starting in high potential areas such as Mpumalanga, where the economy of the Kruger Park holds big promise for local jobs and market access for the surrounding communities in hospitality and tourism.
According to Ismail-Saville, YES sees local communities becoming producers and owners of opportunity for new growth rather than standing on the sidelines as consumers.
Ismail-Saville says YES has been given a mandate by President Cyril Ramaphosa to create one million new 12 month work opportunities for youth in South Africa. “At the moment, more than one in three South African youth face unemployment.
“We are aiming to change this by driving a nation-wide mindset shift and YES movement. Together with partners, in the private sector and NGO space, our team are actively building new ways to create new jobs, in new places,” says Ismail-Saville.
Ismail-Saville says they will do the mindset shift by raising awareness around the movement and calling on every South African with resources to become a part of the solution. “We’re inviting South Africans to think about how they can create job opportunities within their own frameworks and then asking them to invite others to do the same.”
She believes that the million jobs look more reachable, if for example, every hairdresser, lawyer, doctor, welder, and mechanic in the country employs one youth.
In terms of involving SMEs, Ismail-Saville says: “Our aim is to work with enterprise development programmes which transform the technological landscape and business practice of small SMEs and grow linkages between SA’s first and second economy, to scale and develop the SME population into bigger contributors to the economy and importantly for YES, employment.
“This should be the engine of jobs creation. We want to turn the one-person business into an eight-person business with increased competitive advantage, technology and market access. In order to do this we are developing hubs across the country with ED and skills development partners.”