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THE

BEECHAMBER

the STO RY OFYES! | WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS | By: Stella Nolan

2021

Amended General B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice

Youth Employment Service

the STO RY OFYES! | WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS | By: Stella Nolan

Since its establishment in 2018, the Youth Employment Services (YES) initiative has created more than 60,000 meaningful work

experiences in 1,600 businesses in South Africa. Although each generation faces varying challenges as they pass through the era

of Youth, the challenges facing this generation in South Africa are mammoth, with the highest rate of generational unemployment.

Consequently, our Youth are an untapped commodity.

Within the South African context, there are numerous benefits to employers embracing YES employment. Although not designed as

the silver bullet to holistically address unemployment, it focuses on affording opportunities that concentrate on upskilling, providing

on-the-job work experience with the desired outcome of permanent employment.

The National Youth Development Agency Act, #54 of 2008, published as Gazette #31780, defines the “youth” as persons between

the ages of 14 and 35.

The preamble to the act gave the following rationale behind this piece of legislation.

Recognising the heroic struggles of generations of the Youth to bring about freedom and democracy;

And since youth development is central in the reconstruction and development;

And whereas the Government must take reasonable measures, within

its available resources, to achieve progressive development of the Youth;

And whereas the interventions on youth development must be implemented in a cohesive, seamless and integrated manner;

Therefore, the spirit and form of the National Youth Development Agency must give resonance to youth development

In 2018, as the Government was establishing YES, Lehlogonolo

graduated after achieving a BA degree in Public Management and

Governance, an Advanced Certificate in Municipal Management

& Governance, and a BA honours degree in Public Management

and Governance.

Born and raised in Alexandra Township, Lehlogonolo found herself,

like many others after obtaining a degree, seeking employment.

With little success, “I began applying for an internship or learnership

to gain experience and develop my skills”.

In April 2019, she came across YES and viewed it as a viable

concept. “I signed up as a YES Candidate and was recruited by

Toyota as part of their YES intake, who deployed me at the YES

Kago Hub in Tembisa as an Enterprise Developer; then three

months later took up the position of receptionist. Part of this job

was to engage with candidates and help them register on the YES

portal”. It was during this interaction that she heard personal stories

of the challenges facing our unemployed Youth.

“Some individuals registering on the portal had lost hope of ever

finding employment. The enormity of Youth unemployment hit home.

I always took the time to motivate and encourage them to put their

best foot forward. For most, registering as a YES candidate has

changed their prospects and provided an opportunity that would

not have existed without employers embracing YES”.

In July 2019, Lehlogonolo relocated to the YES Head Office as a

Client Engagement Administrator. “Taking this opportunity gave me

another perspective of YES as I engaged with businesses investing

in the YES initiative. The engagement I had with the Youth in my

previous role prepared and motivated me to educate and encourage

corporates to meaningfully invest in YES, which is more than a

B-BBEE Scorecard, as it gives hope and opportunity to our Youth”.

Following the conclusion of her 12-month fixed-term contract,

Lehlogonolo was absorbed as per the desired outcome of a YES

placement. Thus, she became gainfully employed at the YES Head

Office as a Client Engagement Administrator.

“In 2020, with the skills, experience and confidence I got from my

tenure at YES, I successfully applied for a position as a Skills and

Yes Desk Officer at the BEE Chamber. I continue to do what I enjoy

most, which is to engage with the Youth. My role, however, has

moved from on-boarding YES candidates to project managing YES

placements on behalf of BEE Chamber members.

In many cases, the success of the YES initiative, which includes

lead employers levelling up, does not end with a YES employee

placement. “There have been cases where a YES employee does

not thrive in the environment they are placed in or in the role they

occupy. As these situations arise, I engage with both parties to

find a solution which may result in the changing of a YES

employee’s role or sourcing a host employer that is more suitable to

that person”.

As a member of the BEE Chamber registers to

participate in the YES initiative, Lehlogonolo becomes

the support mechanism between a YES employee and

a lead employer. She engages with both the lead and

host employer to determine a YES employee’s internal

culture and expectations in the position they take up,

including a complete job description analysis. If a host

organisation takes custody of a YES employee, she

must ensure that the work environment and conditions

align with the Basic Conditions of Employment. “It is

important that YES employees are properly sourced to

ensure they fit into a host employer’s culture and that

they have the tools to perform in the role for which they

have been placed. ”From end-to-end, Lehlogonolo

juggles the needs of a YES employee against the

set target of the Lead employer. “The process is a

continuous one, from managing the requirements on

the YES portal, where I calculate a Lead employer’s

YES target, to creating their YES account, to generating

their YES registration invoice. I am hands-on in the

monitoring process and ensure all criteria for tracking

is uploaded on the necessary devices”. Her role then

evolves into ensuring a smooth induction on a YES

employee’s first day and that their contract aligns with

the requirements of meaningful work experience.

Although all parties enter into the YES initiative with

the best intentions, some YES employees do not

complete their 12-month work experience for various

reasons. “Should a YES employee drop out of the

programme before completing eight months, I appraise

the situation to identify any shortfalls, then go back to

the recruitment process to replace the YES employee”.

Vital to a YES employer’s levelling up one or two Status

Levels, Lehlogonolo manages the process of preparing

evidence for the host employer’s B-BBEE Verification.

YES has afforded opportunities to our Youth and

exposed employers to an untapped talent pool.

Yuneal Padayachy, Member Support Executive, BEE

Chamber, affirms. “We are truly grateful to work with

Lehlogonolo, who has become a vital part of our team

at the BEE Chamber. We believe that her skills-set and

experience add value to both the BEE Chamber and

our members alike. We appreciate her support and

look forward to seeing what the future holds for her.

I want to encourage more Youth to become a part of

the YES initiative to gain experience in the workplace.

Food for thought, without the intervention of YES,

such an untapped commodity would not have been

discovered”.

Lehlogonolo’s story is only one of many that define the

success of YES.


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