May 2019 2nd Edition

YES initiative gives youth wings to fly

The Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative aims to offer one million unemployed youth paid work experiences over a period of three years.

A brainchild of President Cyril Ramaphosa, the programme aims to prepare young people for employment and provide them with the technical skills needed to underpin the industrialisation of the economy.

YES is also a joint effort by government, labour and business which ensures that South African youth is prepared for employment.

To date, the YES initiative has managed to secure 17 000 work opportunities for unemployed youth. 

If you are a young person and you would like to be part of the YES initiative here is what you need to know:

What is the qualifying criteria for youth to be part of the YES programme?

YES youth must be:

  • Black, in accordance with the BEE definition.
  • Between the ages of 18 – 34 (as this is the definition of youth); and a South African citizen.
  • The YES programme is not for young people who want to change jobs but rather for currently unemployed youth.

What qualifications are needed to be part of the YES Initiative? Can someone without a university qualification register?

YES is aimed at all unemployed black youth between the ages of 18-34 years, regardless of the level of education you have obtained.

Are you able to help the youth that live in rural areas?

YES is aimed at all the unemployed black South African youth wherever they are situated in the country.

Does YES provide Non-Government Organisations and small businesses with funding opportunities, office space and/or equipment?

The type of support that YES offers to businesses and NGOs is non-financial, through capacity development as well as placing a young person in their businesses as a resource. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide funding, office space or equipment or connections to other stakeholders.

How does YES assist young aspiring business owners? Do you provide funding?

Unfortunately, YES does not offer financial support to young aspiring business owners. However, we can assist new businesses (SMMEʼs) by capacitating them with fresh, young and creative youth.

I am running a small business and I would like to host YES youth, but I cannot pay their salary. How can I get involved in YES?

Sponsored host placements are a part of the YES programme. Corporates who meet their YES target can choose to place the youth in their own business or at a host SMME through a sponsored host placement, at no cost to the host. The young person will work in the host business for a period of 12 months and will be paid by the sponsor company.

Can I choose the youth I want to host?

Yes, you can we will work with you to select the right person for your organisation.

Can the same youth be sponsored for more than one year?

No, YES Youth are sponsored for a period of one year. If you decide to absorb your YES Youth after the year-long period, then you will be responsible for salary payments.

I have already registered. When will the placement of work opportunities start?

We are currently in the process of creating work opportunities, which is a complex and lengthy process.

However, our team is working tirelessly to fulfil our mandate of creating one million work opportunities for the unemployed youth of South Africa. Once we have created these experiences, we will then begin to make placements. If you have registered, we will be in touch with you

How do I register to be a YES Youth?

Please log onto our website: where you can register as a YES Youth.

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