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The Youth Employment Services (YES), a brand new “company mandated to holistically develop and empower the youth through Employment and Business”, was founded and is managed by Sihle Zondi and launched in June 2012.

YES forms part of the YouthZone24 that aims to be “your one-stop shop website that focuses on all issues that affect and interest the youth of our country such as education, employment, poverty alleviation, business, entertainment, motivation, inspiration, spirituality and other areas that are of equal importance with the intention of developing and empowering a generation free from poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, inequality and other negative social factors.”

YES is a private initiative born out of Zondi’s passion to empower the youth by providing the service of “a middleman [between employers and job seekers] without the cost involved when using recruitment agencies or labour brokers.

Indeed, YES is able to offers a free service to young people seeking employment. Its operational costs are made from advertising sales on its YouthZone24 website.

Zondi says that the struggle to find employment is a two-tiered beast. For most, economics play a big part. The costs of Internet cafe’s, printing and scanning might seem fickle to the few, but for the many such costs pose a real problem in the job seeking process, especially when unemployment lingers.

Secondly the issues of accessibility or the lack thereof, rather, poses a threat to job seekers’ potential success in securing employment. Zondi mentions the example of an urbanite’s direct access to job ads in newspapers as opposed to a person living in a rural area who has to walk several kilometres just to buy a newspaper. “Information is power”, says Zondi. Consequently, access to desired information plays a vital role in empowerment.

What Zondi and his team do, is make desired information available to the youth of South Africa. Via his network he learns of opportunities that he verifies and makes available to his audience. Zondi constantly strives to expand this network of connections to enrich the pool of opportunities that YES can share with the unemployed youth, many of whom are qualified and desperate to find employment.

With is focus squarely on the youth of this country, YES has seen an incredible surge in its Facebook members: since its launch in July 2012, is has breach the 15 000 mark, demonstrating the market’s hunger for such a service.

The YouthZone24 Facebook page functions in conjunction with the YES page. It adds a platform for discussion about lifestyle and all other matters of interest to the youth. Together, YES and the YouthZone24 offer a “one-stop-shop” for the job seeking South African youth. Zondi’s mission is to “holistically empower the youth...and to change their mindset and ideology”.

When I asked Zondi what motivates him to drive this project with such vigour, he ascribed it to passion, as well a burning love for his country. On a personal level he had to quit his day job and sell his car to pursue this dream, but thankfulness for being able to do so, motivates him.

According to Zondi, the youth are the future ambassadors of South Africa: “the youth needs to step up and work together” to create a better place for all to live and thrive in.

By Kat Potgieter

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