Youth unemployment in South Africa is a serious challenge. However, it is not only the government's responsibility to create jobs for young people. Several private sector initiatives are seeking to assist unemployed youth in finding employment.
Careers Portal spoke to Aditi Lachman, Head of Youth Programmes at the Youth Employment Service (YES) to discuss the organisation's initiatives and efforts aimed at reducing youth unemployment in South Africa.
The Youth Employment Service (YES) programme was created by the private sector in response to the youth unemployment crisis in South Africa. The initiative was started without any government funding to attract youth to the private sector.
Over the last five years, YES has created more than 125,000 jobs for young people in South Africa.
Requirements For YES Entry-Level Jobs
YES for Youth primarily targets South African youth between the ages of 18 and 35.
Job opportunities within the YES programme are open to youth with various qualification levels. Lachman highlighted that approximately 95% of participants hold at least a matric certificate.
While job opportunities are open to youth with any quality qualification level what we have all seen is that 95% of Youth that go through the YES programme have at least a matric certificate.
They emphasised that the programme welcomes everyone interested in finding job opportunities and gaining valuable work experience.
The more and more we run the YES programme we see the the demand for increasing education levels and focus particularly on those that are finishing with matric, however, it is open to everybody that are interested in looking for a job and job experience
Lachman acknowledged the challenges faced by young people who do not have a matric certificate. They highlighted the importance of providing options for individuals without this qualification, recognizing the barriers they face in the job market.
More About Youth
The YES programme collaborates with over 1,500 private sector companies to provide fully funded 12-month work experiences for youth. The program emphasizes job experience, social network building, and skills for employability and entrepreneurship.
At YES, we constantly work to create pathways to bridge the gap for young people — to put them on a multiplier pathway where they not only impact their own careers but also those in the community and the general work environment.”
Despite the importance of all three aspects, aiding youth in establishing social networks is often overlooked. Many South African youth face disadvantages that hinder their access to and development of social connections. Facilitating the building of social networks—whether through sharing information, resources, or opportunities—significantly enhances their chances of success.