top of page



Asset 4.png



Sisanda Mbolekwa - 03 April 2023

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the YES programme doesn’t just create meaningful jobs, it also creates value for employers. File photo.


President Cyril Ramaphosa has applauded the youth employment service for helping reduce unemployment.

He said many young South Africans found it difficult to get jobs because they lacked work experience, but the youth employment service was addressing the challenge.

They come out of school, university or college with qualifications, but many employers are looking for people with experience. That is why, in 2018, we launched the Youth Employment Service (YES), an ambitious partnership with the private sector to address the crisis of youth unemployment,” said Ramaphosa.

The president said the initiative worked with companies to provide work experience opportunities and, five years after its establishment, has helped reduce unemployment in practical ways.

“To date, YES has placed over 100,000 South Africans between the ages of 18 and 29 in local businesses for a year of work experience. Through YES, about R6bn in youth salaries has been injected into the economy and has enabled participants to support their families,” said Ramaphosa.

He said the programme was part of the broader presidential youth employment intervention, government’s flagship initiative to respond to youth unemployment. “It includes a range of programmes to help young South Africans transition from learning to earning. Among these programmes is, a zero-rated mobile platform where young people can access opportunities and support.”

In his weekly newsletter, Ramaphosa applauded that over 4-million young people have registered on the platform, citing an estimated 61% of YES participants come from households reliant on social grants.

“One participant, who was placed with Mercedes-Benz for a year, was the sole breadwinner for a family of four. She told YES that not only was she able to support her family, she was also able to save up to start a broiler chicken business,” he said.

“Many young people have been placed in future-facing industries such as IT, the green economy, systems and software engineering, app development and others. In addition to facilitating work experience, YES also operates several training hubs across the country.”

According to YES, an estimated 40% of participants are employed on completion of the programme, he said.

“In this year already, YES has achieved a new record of 32,400 jobs.

"Over 1,400 businesses participate in YES, and the aim is to increase the pace of placements as more companies come on board and more opportunities are made available.

“The YES programme doesn’t just create meaningful jobs, it also creates value for employers that are able to facilitate the entry of more young South Africans into the mainstream of the economy.”

The government has put an enabling legislative environment in place to incentivise businesses to participate in youth employment creation, said Ramaphosa. “For example, both large and small qualifying enterprises can improve their broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) status by participating in YES.”

The employment tax incentive reduced the costs to companies of hiring young people, he added, citing how he has always maintained that the unemployment crisis can only be overcome if all social partners come on board.

“As the main source of job creation and retention in most countries around the world, including our own, the private sector’s involvement is critical. As government we will continue to play our part by putting in place regulatory and legislative tools to encourage business to hire more young South Africans.”

Congratulating the service and its partners for reaching this milestone and offering a chance at a better life to 100,000 young people, Ramaphosa said we can expect to see these numbers increase in the months and years ahead.

“I call on more businesses to become part of this life-changing programme and to contribute to the recovery and reconstruction of our economy and society.”

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


bottom of page