Growing up, Lindiwe Mabesa (21)from Soweto, had ambitions of becoming an advocate for those seeking justice.
So, it came as no surprise that, after matriculating in 2019, she pursued a Diploma in Law at the University of South Africa. She is currently studying towards an LLB at the same institution. She also has a YouTube channel where she provides law students with tips on how to navigate university life. “I believe that as a paralegal, I have a chance to further the public good and have an impact on the way the world runs,” she said.
Mabesa, recruited into the programme in January 2022, is one of 50 young South African women who were part of the second cohort of Pizza Hut’s LeadHERship programme. The programme, in partnership with the government’s Youth Employment Service (YES), places young women aged between 18 and 24 from marginalised communities in a 12-month work experience programme which are fully funded by Pizza Hut. The first cohort of 109 young women completed their programme in February 2023. Mabesa is one of 35 beneficiaries who have gone on to secure full-time employment. Several others have been offered work on fixed-term and freelance contracts.
A day after completing the programme in February, she assumed her role as a legal administration assistant at an intellectual property law firm. “It [the programme] really helped me get experience and get my foot at the doors of these amazing opportunities, we all know getting a job requires experience. This programme is an opportunity for the youth of South Africa to get the experience they need,” she said.
Graduates who are part of the 2023 cohort have been placed with organisations that are making an impact on communities. Some are joining the Youth Content Collective, which helps young black creatives harness their potential and become micro-entrepreneurs. Others are collaborating with Click Learning, which deploys online English literacy programs in underprivileged primary schools across South Africa.
A third group are gaining valuable experience across various sectors, including arts, entertainment, recreation, and education, through the Youth@work initiative. The key to the LeadHERship initiative is that it goes beyond simply providing internships, said Lee-Ann Cullingworth, Pizza Hut marketing director. “We want to change young women’s lives. We are actively empowering them by teaching them social and work readiness skills, which exponentially increases their chances of long-term employability,” she said.
For more information about the Youth Employment Service (YES) visit www. yes4youth.co.za
Visit Lindiwe Mabesa’s YouTube channel @LindiweMabesa