Across the country and globe there is a visceral sense of frustration propelled by an urgent need for change on a structural and institutional level, even within our economic spheres. South Africa with its complicated history and its inheritance of a segregated economy at the dawn of democracy is no exception. Being declared the most socio-economically unequal modern society by Times Magazine; social grants, high levels of unemployment and unequal opportunities and access form just some of the frustrations the youth of SA are struggling and living through. The harsh reality is that at the end of last year, close to 60% of employable youth in South Africa were without jobs, and within an economy that is experiencing slow to no growth, prospects are limited. This has been even further exacerbated by the global Covid-19 pandemic which has seen the economies of developed and developing countries brought to their knees. Now more than ever, the need for real and far reaching upliftment, skills development and job creation is absolutely critical.
The YES initiative is a business led collaboration with government aimed at creating jobs for young individuals between the ages of 18 and 35, this is achieved by encouraging corporate entities such as the MCG to invest in the programme. An effort at tangibly transforming the lives of young Black people who our inherited economy has shut out — while also helping to grow the businesses in which they are placed. For 1 year 400 Black unemployed youths will be placed in various meaningful jobs thus allowing them the access to gaining valuable on-the-ground work experience and undergo soft skills training via research-based modules provided through their YES phones. Having invested over R220 million in initiatives that support skills development and stimulate job creation for the youth of South Africa, MCG has a long history of supporting and investing in people through real action often skewed towards the youth. One such initiative is their Let’s Play Physical Education Challenge — that has over the past five years — been one of the Department of Basic Education’s flagship school enrichment programmes touching the lives of over 100 000 primary school learners across the country, collectively, MCG has invested a total of R50 million in the YES and Let’s Play initiatives.
Tashmia Ismail-Saville, Chief Executive of YES commenting on the initiative had this to says:
MultiChoice are pioneering the behaviours we need to see all companies display in the future as they embrace true transformation. This COVID-battered economy is seeing unprecedented job losses and economic fallout and youth are once again going to be bearing the brunt of this catastrophe. We cannot afford to leave another generation behind. The MultiChoice YES project is a perfect example of meaningful transformation and how companies can grow the country’s way out of the crisis by creating employment opportunities and incomes so desperately needed for our communities to emerge less bruised. These youth are gaining valuable skills transferred through the MultiChoice project which will help them take their rightful place in the future as contributors to a new inclusive economy.