Businesses say 'Yes' to Ramaphosa's youth employment initiative

Tashmia Ismail-Saville the CEO of Yes, with the phone's used to monitor youth during their internships.
Tashmia Ismail-Saville the CEO of Yes, with the phone's used to monitor youth during their internships.
Image: Penwell Dlamini

A new partnership by business incubator Raizcorp and youth employment organisation Lulaway has been formed to enable companies across the spectrum to be able to easily participate in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Youth Employment Service (Yes).

The launch of the partnership was announced in Sandton, on Thursday, as a move to increase the role played by the private sector in reducing youth unemployment in the country.

The Yes initiative invites business to sponsor jobs for unemployed youth, which then enables the business to climb two levels on the BBBEE scorecard.

In the initiative, companies can sponsor a one-year paid internship position for black youth.

The company sponsoring the youth does not have to host the young person on its own premises. Raizcorp and Lulaway come into the fray and find the youth the actual business where they  can be placed through their Yes2Day programme.

Sponsored interns can be placed in small businesses which, ordinarily, would not be able to afford these human resources. Tashmia Ismail-Saville, CEO of Yes, said the programme had already made fantastic achievements. She said 650 youth have been placed per week over the past 16 weeks. Ramaphosa launched Yes in March 2018 to create employment for one million youths in the South African economy.

Ismail-Saville warned the business community in attendance that the country was facing a big threat to its economy  –  youth unemployment. “If you are born poor, you are likely to stay poor and likely to die that way … this is the biggest threat to South Africa,” said Ismail-Saville.

She said that GDP growth alone could not immediately address the current crisis  of youth unemployment.

However, Ismail-Saville said, allowing small businesses to play a substantial role in reducing unemployment could turn the tables and achieve the desired impact.

She added that youth from townships and rural areas faced a number of hurdles in finding employment  as  job opportunities could not be found where they lived.

Through Yes2Day, small businesses in these areas would be able to bring in the youth and they will be monitored through an application on a cellphone.  

“If you have a young person and they are out there in a community where you can’t get big training to them, the phone has got a whole 24 module programme that allows youth to be tracked, monitored and also soft skills training and financial literacy. It assesses them and at the end of the year, this phone helps us to build a quality reference letter and CV. As part of the Yes membership, every youth that is in the programme will receive a phone,” Ismail-Saville explained.

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