Thursday, March 4, 2021
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YES initiative and corporate partners embark on a great reset for the empowerment of South African youth

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Coming together for good has never been more crucial than it is now. An inclusive way of working between government, business, and civil society can help create the South Africa we all dream of.

The Youth Employment Service (YES) is an initiative that calls on business to help the government create critical work experience for young people across the country. Launched a little over two years ago by President Cyril Ramaphosa, YES – together with over 1 200 partner companies – has already created nearly 50 000 work experiences for previously unemployed youth who would otherwise have had limited opportunities for employment. In this time, these partnerships have injected about R2.5 billion into the economy through salaries that have been transferred into youth worker wallets.

Business is the most powerful driver of transformation and growth. South Africa needs business now more than ever to get the country back onto solid ground and rebuild the economy. To encourage business participation, MultiChoice Group’s Pan-African streaming video service, Showmax, will showcase the experiences of five of the partner companies who have been the force behind thousands of youth work opportunities across the country, working through the YES initiative. These documentaries will share the impact these early adopter companies had on young lives and South African society.

Speaking to the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention announced at last year’s State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa said, “We are scaling up the Youth Employment Service and working with TVET colleges and the private sector to ensure that more learners receive practical experience in the workplace to complete their training.”

“At YES, we believe in the untapped power and potential of South Africa’s youth. They have so much to contribute, given the opportunity. Through innovation, collaboration and technological best practice, we seek to create jobs at scale for unemployed young South Africans as part of a greater reset of our economy, and to drive the lasting economic and societal change that we all want and need to see,” said YES Chief Executive, Dr Tashmia Ismail-Saville.

MultiChoice Group teamed up with YES, Investec, Nedbank, Volkswagen, and Telesure Investment Holdings to share their inspiring stories, which demonstrate the significant ripple effect of the YES initiative, not only on the young beneficiaries, but on their families and communities too.

The Showmax series – entitled The Great Reset – will comprise of six 15-minute short documentary films.

Each documentary is titled according to the themes the participating companies want to highlight in their messages, based on their experiences:

Investec – First Chance
Nedbank – Unleashing the Power and Promise of Youth
Volkswagen (VW) – Uncovering Youth Gems
Telesure Investment Holdings (TIH) – Bridging the Divide
MultiChoice Group – Equipping the Dreamers
YES – For a Future that Works

All these documentaries will focus on the year-long work experiences of young people whose participation in the YES programme has been supported by these six organisations.

Tom Creamer, CEO of TIH says: “With more young people entering the workforce every year, the economy needs to create far more jobs than it currently does. Now more than ever, business needs to look at things differently and take action to support empowerment through collaboration, effort and creativity to really build a future that works.”

“Investec was one of the first corporates to join the YES initiative, because we’ve always prioritised education and appreciated the urgency of dealing with youth unemployment. Increasingly, however, matriculants and graduates cannot find jobs, and 60% of youth between 15 and 24 are unemployed,” says Fani Titi, Chief Executive, Investec Group. “I’m proud of what we have achieved so far through YES and via our partners, the Sabi Sands Pfuanani Trust, Care for Wild and Good Work Foundation, but this is a crisis we can only solve through collaboration. I’m therefore calling on other corporates and businesses to join us in broadening this initiative and giving deserving young people that all important first chance.”

“Aligned to Nedbank’s purpose of using our financial expertise to do good, we are proud to play our part in giving young people hope and a sense of agency in the context of extremely high levels of unemployment,” says Nedbank CE, Mike Brown. “The most inspiring part of this journey has been witnessing the recruits grow and excel within their roles and the change they are leading in their communities.”

“The YES initiative is one of the most hopeful, impactful and necessary interventions in our country. We are proud to be partners with this powerful programme and we hope that it will grow from strength to strength and fulfill its mission,” said Nonkqubela Maliza, VWSA’s Director for Corporate and Government Affairs.

“We have a solid track record of developing and upskilling young people across the continent,” says MultiChoice Group Chairman, Imtiaz Patel. “We’re delighted to be able to support this groundbreaking initiative which is not only giving hope to those who were previously hopeless, but is also creating a confident, well-equipped generation of future leaders who will potentially lead South Africa into a brighter future.”

The series title is inspired by the World Economic Forum’s 2020/21 theme which will focus on post-Covid-19 opportunities to fundamentally change the political, economic, and social conditions of millions of people for the better. The YES initiative is aligning with this thinking by coming up with new and innovative ways of shaping opportunities for future leaders.

We call on all corporates to join in this initiative, saying YES to youth and giving them a chance at a better future.

The Great Reset series premieres on Showmax on 28 January 2021.

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