THIS YEAR National Youth Day and Youth Month will be celebrated under the theme: “The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: Growing youth employment for an inclusive and transformed society.”
Yes, many strides have been made to celebrate youth’s effort and tenacious work since pre and post 1976, but questions on rising unemployment and capacitation remain a stark contrast in South Africa.
Unemployment – particularly among South African youth – was a serious dilemma, long before Covid-19 became a reality. Millions of people, desperate for work, had to face the stark reality of unemployment. Covid-19 only exacerbated the problem, with an alarming unemployment rate of 74%, among youths aged 15-24.
This, is despite the large government and corporate investments.
Albeit major companies such as Nedbank continue to invest heavily in youth development and job creation, stagnant economy hampers growth, which in turn result in despondency.
The Nedbank Group, has welcomed 1 905 previously unemployed youth who will start their 12-month Youth Employment Service (YES) journey with Nedbank and its sponsored implementation partners, this Youth Month.
They will be placed at Nedbank and its implementation partners WILDTRUST, ORT SA, Youth@work, Conservation SA and R’Labs.
With the focus on introducing new, scarce skills to the youth, some of the recruits placed at Nedbank will go through a digital skills development programme that will prepare them for entry-level careers in cloud computing.
Some of the students who graduated from the 12 month programme includes, Bashley ‘Bash’ Mashego, (22) is one of the students’ who was part of the (YES) programme and has been permanently employed at Nedbank as Market Research Administrator.
The Mpumalanga born, but Orange Farm- south of Johannesburg based ‘Bash’ says she looks forward completing her studies and obtaining her PhD.
Joburg born, Salaminah Modungwa who is 28 years old, has been permanently employed at Nedbank as Sponsorships Event Coordinator.
In 2019 Salaminah’s late brother heard about the (YES) programme and encouraged her to apply and got admitted. She hopes to work hard and become a Marketing and Events specialist within the next few years.
Salaminah advises the new YES recruits to “grasp this opportunity as you gain valuable work experience, which is something that most youth lack, it will also challenge you and take you out of your comfort zone…which will inevitably mean growth”.
At the end of the 2019 programme, 591 of the recruits were permanently placed within Nedbank and its implementation partners.
“As we commemorate Youth Month and reflect on the impact youth have had in the past, we understand that we must play our role in ensuring they have the tools to shape our future,” says Fuller.
Nedbank’s implementation partner WILDTRUST has employed (1 109) of the youth through the WILDTRUST’s terrestrial and marine programmes (WILDLANDS and WILDOCEANS).
Recruits are placed across Mpumalanga, Western and Eastern Cape as well as KwaZulu-Natal.
The jobs created are within the fields of office administration, environmental education, marketing and communications, land care, eco-tourism and sustainability, conservation and early childhood development.
Youth placed in these sustainable impact projects will be offered diverse and unique opportunities to immerse themselves in an experiential journey that will (directly or indirectly) impact the environment for the better.
As for both ‘Bash’ and Salaminah the world is their oyster…
This year’s June 16 marks 45th commemoration since the June 1976 Youth Uprisings.
Ed Note: What is the role of National Youth Dev Agency in Youth emancipation?