Youth Employment Service

Youth Employment Service (YES) Pillar 1: Create, Allocate, Facilitate

The YES (Youth Employment Service) programme intends to provide 1 million youths with 12 months paid work positions during the next 1095 days. Upon quick calculation, this ambitious feat requires an average of 913 jobs to be generated daily in the South African business ecosystem, over the course of three years.

The programme kicked off to a firing start with a hundred companies committing to the initiative in the first 30 days. Those work provider pioneers were mainly from the corporate sector, with most of them affluent enough to have their names listed on the JSE (think Zebra stripes, Ayoba in yellow, a Fir Tree logo, the Green bank, the Red bank and also that food chain with the all familiar “W” brand).

In-house Paid Work Experiences

The first pillar of YES focuses on supplying in-house corporate work experiences to unemployed youths at existing corporate, commercial and SME businesses, for a period of 12 months.

Allocating the ‘’million jobs’’ responsibility solely to our corporate titans is perhaps a recipe for failure. Commercial organisations and SME’s are the lifeblood of our economy accounting for 91% of formalised business and employing 60% of our labour force. Therefore, commercial, small and medium enterprises should consider joining the YES Movement sooner rather than later to ensure the continuity of the YES programme.

De-Risking Hiring, Increasing Accessibility

After processing the above, your moral compass is probably in the right place and as an HR Professional, Hiring Manager or Business Owner, the needle is hovering towards participating in this project correct? Of course, one would like to make a valid contribution to alleviate unemployment and give someone the chance of a better future. However, we are all aware of the not so rosy ‘’nitty gritties’’ accompanying the hiring process and frankly does it validate the additional hassles?

Fortunately, the YES project is optimally structured to “de-risk” the experience of taking on first-time entrants to the labour market. According to YES CEO, Tashmia Ismail-Saville, “sourcing candidates through YES can give companies access to people that they would not normally be able to find”.

Upon joining the YES movement as an In-House Assisted Member, you gain entry into the YES Platform where AI takes over and links candidates to your specific requirements by means of a YES matching algorithm. Additional support manifests in the form of Employer Toolkits, Gamified Psychometric Assessments as well as Tracking & Attendance Apps.

For those who believe their hiring process is the epiphany of success, the YES programme offers alternative options for companies to source and manage these trainees independently, while still receiving B-BBEE points and Employment Tax Incentives.

Cost of Employment

Time to crunch a few numbers and perhaps have a chat to the “powers that be” in the finance department.

SME’s with a turnover of less than 10 million annually, will in fact receive that ‘’free lunch’’ and may register to the Yes programme at zero cost. For companies above the 10 million mark, there is a sliding scale ranging from R2 500 up to R20 000 for annual registration.

Furthermore, depending on the package chosen there are once off placement fees per every candidate employed to offset the value items offered by YES, such as smartphones, toolkits, and GPS locators for cloud tracking and monitoring purposes.

As a YES member one is obliged to pay the respective candidate a minimum salary of R3 500 per month and spend approximately R15 000 per year on training and development. Therefore, the total expenses should amount to R57 000 per annum, bearing in mind though that an ETI (Employment Tax Incentive) claim of R12 000 may be deducted annually.

Here it is folks, the chance to change the life of an unemployed youngster and play an instrumental part in improving their future outlook from gloom to boom, will cost a mere R3 750 per month. To put this into perspective: that is more a less equal to the monthly entertainment expenditure in a small business. (Or you can just switch from Jacobs to Ricoffy and foot the bill with the saving incurred from your coffee bills)


Before Intern Ike or Learnership Lerato’s arrival, a few matters require attention: the proverbial crossing the ‘’T’s’’ and dotting the ‘’ I’s” if you will. These include employment contracts, appropriate integration of the internship programme with HR policies and processes, establishing proper governance structures for monitoring and evaluation purposes, and designing relevant development support mechanisms.

Work Readiness and sustainable Learning Programmes are key focus areas of the YES initiative. Structured development strategies should include:


I – Appropriate INDUCTION and onboarding activities.

N – Clear NOMINATION of tasks and responsibilities.

T – Compiling a TASK portfolio showcasing all completed projects and milestones met by the interns during the year.

E – Regular EVALUATION sessions to course correct performance voids and recognize achievements.

R – RELATIONSHIP building events to foster connections between mentors and interns.

N – NEXT steps discussion before the internship concludes.

In our next article we will discuss the ins and outs of Pillar 2. This platform aims to accommodate businesses without sufficient capacity to add to their headcount figures by offering them options to sponsor the salary and support costs for a one-year placement in a small and medium enterprise

eSTUDY is an accredited digital training company that specialises in upskilling your employees with accredited eLearning solutions to help your business grow.



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