President Cyril Ramaphosa - Meaningful Work Experience
President Cyril Ramaphosa - Meaningful Work Experience

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President Cyril Ramaphosa - Meaningful Work Experience


President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the Youth Employment Service (YES) in March 2018, at the Riverside Incubation Hub in Fourways, Johannesburg.

The YES initiative aims to see more than one million young South Africans being offered paid work experience over the next three years, as part of placing the needs of and opportunities for young people at the centre of inclusive economic growth.

The initiative takes the form of a partnership â€" led by President Cyril Ramaphosa â€" between government, business, labour and civil society. 

Said President Ramaphosa, “It provides a vital ingredient that has been missing â€" the provision of meaningful work experience for young people on a scale that will have a significant and lasting impact on employment, on the economy and on broader society.”

The programme has three channels through which employment opportunities can occur:
  • Corporate work experiences: businesses that participate in the programme create one-year paid positions for youth aged between 18 and 35, in addition to these organisations’ current employment numbers, YES is additive
  • SMME host placements: businesses that do not have the capacity to place more people in their organisations, have the option of sponsoring the salary for a one-year placement in small and medium enterprises (in year one for 7 to 10 months) (The salary is expected to be set at the national minimum wage (NMW) level of R3 500 per month, and includes associated training and support which on average will bring the cost to R55 000 per annum)
  • SMME development: young people are empowered to start and grow their own businesses, with support from YES in the form of training, seed funding and value-chain integration
Ramaphosa thanked the companies that had come forward to provide work experience opportunities to the
first 100 YES participants. The firms include Unilever, Sasol, Investec, Absa and Netcare. Tashmia Ismail-Saville, CEO of YES commented, “YES aims to give that portion of our youth, which are largely overlooked
by the country’s current employment models, a crucial first chance to gain a paid work experience of a decent quality. This significantly increases their chances of securing permanent employment after the year.”

Research has shown that one year of work experience, coupled with a CV and reference letter, increases a young person’s chances of finding employment by three times.

“In essence, this proven experience de-risks a young person and makes employers more likely to appoint new hires. The effect is amplified for women,” said Ismail-Saville. Large businesses alone cannot absorb sufficient numbers of youth. Over two thirds of South Africa’s current employment base is medium-sized companies and smaller, making it critical that they are involved with the programme.

Prior to joining the programme, businesses that sign up to YES will be screened to ensure that the proposed work experiences are of a sufficient quality and that youth will gain relevant skills. The experiences will also be monitored for effectiveness.

The workplace training is complemented by equally important work-readiness skills and mentorship to provide a holistic development approach.

“One of the key challenges to job creation that we aim to address, is creating jobs in the communities where young people are, and where youth unemployment is often at its highest,” said Ismail-Saville.

This has motivated the creation of the SMME host placement channel, which should increase productivity and competitiveness in smaller businesses in various communities and ultimately enhance inclusive growth.

YES is in the process of creating several community hubs at various locations in the country, which will provide the environment and services necessary for existing and aspiring business owners to elevate their businesses or ideas.

Colin Coleman and Stephen Koseff, co-convenors of YES commented: “YES is a practical partnership between stakeholdersthat uses the funding, skills and organisation of businesses, the incentives and regulatory power of government, the co-operation of labour and the participation of communities to create a new set of opportunities for youth to gain an opportunity for experience in the workforce.”

Ismail-Saville concluded: “South Africa has incredible potential that is just waiting to be unlocked. YES is an attempt to unlock and accelerate this by creating one million opportunities for those young people that are currently excluded from our economy. It is all of our responsibility to start changing this picture â€" offer one
chance to one person is all it takes.”

Candidates seeking opportunities or companies wishing to participate in the YES initiative are invited to visit details.

President Cyril Ramaphosa - Meaningful Work Experience

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