the STO RY OFYES! | WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS | By: Stella Nolan
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 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
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
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
Lehlogonolo’s story is only one of many that define the
success of YES.