State of the Nation  2024

Youth Empowerment
SONA 2018 Commitments and Achievements

We are committed to delivering on the promises made in the 2018 State of the Nation Address. There is still much work to be done, but we have made important progress. Last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged to provide young South Africans with new opportunities to find meaningful employment. On Day 40 post-SONA, we took a crucial step towards that goal.

Working in partnership with business, organised labour and community representatives, we are creating opportunities for young people to be exposed to the world of work through internships, apprenticeships, mentorship and entrepreneurship.

Our most grave and most pressing challenge is youth unemployment. It is therefore a matter of great urgency that we draw young people in far greater numbers into productive economic activity.

Day 40

Youth Employment Service launched to place unemployed in paid internships in South African companies.

In March 2018, the YES programme was announced to pave the way for job creation and the employment of South Africa’s young people.

The YES initiative aims to see more than one million young South Africans being offered paid work experience over the next three years, as part of placing the needs of and opportunities for young people at the centre of inclusive economic growth.

Speaking at the YES launch at the Riverside Incubation Hub in Midrand, President Ramaphosa said the initiative would change the lives of many young people in the country by helping them grow the skills our economy needs when they finish school.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the launch of the Youth Employment Service initiative.

Reaction to the YES initiative has been positive, with many recognising its potential to address one of South Africa’s most pressing challenges by giving unemployed youth their first chance to enter the labour market.

The YES initiative creates opportunities for businesses to respond to this challenge through a programme that has been smartly designed to everyone’s advantage. One of the most encouraging elements of the YES initiative is the possibility of partnership. It calls for government, labour, civil society and young people to work together to fight South Africa’s unemployment crisis.

The first companies to come forward to provide work experience opportunities included Netcare, Unilever, Sasol, Investec and Absa.

In total, Netcare aims to upskill 1 000 young South Africans over a five year period through the following career opportunities: 170 pharmacist assistants, 100 pharmacist stock assistants, 110 human resources interns, 30 in technical and engineering fields, 90 learnerships in various fields for disabled youths, as well as 500 registered nurses.

Other companies have also embraced the call to make a difference for our youth.

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