Among a plethora of challenges facing the South African government, unemployment remained high at this year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) which was delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the 13th February. The latest report shows that employment had not increased in the final quarter of 2019 for the first time in a decade and remained at 29.1%, with youth unemployment still a dire concern.
“Youth unemployment is the biggest problem in our country. We must tighten our belts to address the crisis of youth unemployment. Our first priority is to create a National Pathway Management Network for young work-seekers to view and access learning and work opportunities, to receive a basic package of support and work readiness training, and to be matched to employment and other economic opportunities said Ramaphosa.
In support of government initiatives and the President’s recommendations, Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) has committed to supporting the national Youth Employment Service (YES) programme by offering work opportunities to 520 unemployed youth. The Yes programme enables young people without formal qualifications to gain work experience with the aim of improving their chances at long-term quality employment.
141 candidates begun their 12-month employment period at VWSA, 194 candidates will be working for the VWSA dealership network and 185 candidates were taken in by SME host partners. Of the 141 that will work for VWSA directly, 123 will be placed at the plant in Uitenhage, 10 candidates at the National Sales Organization (NSO) in Sandton and another 8 candidates will join the Group Parts Warehouse facility in Centurion.
Last year, YES Foundation, Harambee and UNLOCK’D, VWSA offered opportunities to 560 young people and six of these candidates were offered permanent positions within VWSA and the dealership network. “Volkswagen remains committed to economic transformation initiatives, and we believe programmes like the YES initiative have a crucial part to play in alleviating the youth unemployment crisis in our country,” said Thomas Schaefer, Volkswagen Group South Africa Chairman and Managing Director.