South African businesses are enjoying significant benefits on their B-BBEE scorecards through the implementation of the Youth Employment Service (YES) benefit.
YES is a non-profit-company (NPC) tasked with tackling the youth employability challenge in South Africa by partnering with businesses prepared to offer youth between the ages of 18 and 35, the opportunity to secure their first jobs.
Legislation promulgated in October 2018 allows qualifying businesses to move up between one and two levels on their scorecard through the implementation and absorption of previously unemployed youth.
“To date we have had eight major businesses already move up one level through the implementation of YES and we anticipate a further four will follow in the next few months,” says Tashmia Ismail-Saville the chief executive of YES.
Ismail-Saville adds: “We have been encouraged by the level of support shown by the BEE consulting firms and verification agencies who have made the effort to understand the legislation on behalf of their clients and have embraced the implementation of YES.”
Consulting agency BEE Novation is one of the agencies which have successfully implemented YES with their clients.
BEE Novation chief executive Lee Du Preez explains that YES is tackling the youth employability challenge on three fronts: Economically, Politically and Socially.
YES’s incorporation of technological best-practices enables the country to catch up with a world already redefined by robotics, Artificial Intelligence and other portends of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. South Africa must ‘run and shoot at the same time’, anticipating and addressing both short-term and long-term changes in our global environment through two-birds/one-stone solutions.
Du Preez says: “We’ve observed that a high unemployment rate outsidethe workforce lowers feelings of security and morale withinthe workforce. In line with their responsibility towards the wellness of their employees, the HR and transformation departments of businesses would do well to seek out the kinds of trade-offs that YES provides. Part of what’s needed to prevent restlessness and high staff turnover withintheir own ranks is putting forward good-faith efforts to combat unemployment without. High staff turnover means a tightening labour market, and that pushes salary bills up. Addressing unemployment via YES has the immediate tangible return on investment that’s an improved B-BBEE score, which is only part of the benefit, over and above this are the environmental advances promised by YES.
YES solves the catch-22 of youth needing experience before being employed and needing to be employed before getting experience by shifting this dilemma‘ upwards’ into the hands of stakeholders with the means to resolve it into a trade-off or compact. This gives youth their first exposure to legitimate and sustainable levers for participating in their economic and political world, as well as direct line-of-sight into understanding basic economic concepts you and I take for granted. These economic performance variables and indicators include currency exchange rates, GDP fluctuations, the country’s credit rating, the effectiveness and efficiency of state institutions, the affiliation, personality, credibility and experience of the finance and other economic cluster ministers, and so on.
The economic impact of this initiative goes far beyond simply offering previously unemployed youth their first job and the direct benefits of those salaries into community households. Through this alignment with YES and a BEE Novation client in the healthcare sector, 1,700 unemployed youth will become competent Community Health Workers and over 400,000 families in just one district will have increased access to quality health care. One of the partners in the Nomzamo project is the Anglican Church, which is exploring a partnership with YES which would see this type of project expand into the most rural of communities, as it filters into the country’s capillaries where the Church has presence.
Du Preez says: “While the immediate reward for being part of the general solution is an increased B-BBEE score, the broader reward is operating in a country where the vicious cycle of economic, political and social consequences of youth unemployment is less vicious each day.”
“We need to re-frame this discussion: it’s not about youth unemployment but rather the economic benefits of youth employability. It’s about transferring skills and making these youth meaningful contributors to the South African economy,” concludes Ismail-Saville.