Tuesday 27 March was an exciting day for everyone at The Canvas Riversands when President Cyril Ramaphosa formally launched the Youth Employment Service (YES), a business-led partnership with government, labour and civil society which aims to empower one million young South Africans by offering paid quality work experiences over the next three years.
YES was established to create inclusive growth that benefits all who live in South Africa. A key contributor to this goal is increasing job creation and ensuring that youth are included in the economic growth story in a sustainable manner.
It was particularly apt that the launch was held at Riversands Incubation Hub, since its vision is to create a South African economy growing and thriving through increasing numbers of successful businesses whose ownership reflects SA’s population demographics, creating jobs and economic opportunity for all.
The SMEs who interacted with President Ramaphosa were blown away by his charm and the genuine interest he showed in their activities.
In his speech, President Ramaphosa commented, “We are certain that although the difficulties may be great, although the obstacles may be daunting, we have the means, the will and the resources to overcome them. Through the initiative that we are launching today, we are determined to demonstrate the power of collective action in pursuit of an ambitious and far-reaching agenda.”
For the YES programme, businesses are being asked to create new paid one-year positions for unemployed black youth over and above current employment numbers. Where a company doesn’t have capacity to host young people, they’re encouraged to sponsor a salary for a one-year starter position at an SME which lies closer to where the young person lives, building SME capacity and competitiveness.
At the launch, President Ramaphosa was introduced to the first 100 young people who will be employed at ABSA, Investec, Netcare, Sasol and Unilever through the YES programme.