The Y.E.S Initiative was launched in 2018 to combat youth unemployment in South Africa. It stands for Youth Unemployment Service, and its goal is to create one million new jobs and job opportunities over the next three years for youth in South Africa.
Eligible participants (the “youth” referred to herein) are between the ages of 18 and 35 and meet the definition of Black people as per the BEE Act.
The Y.E.S Initiative aims to combat high youth unemployment, upskill workers, make South Africa more attractive to investors, and boost the South African economy. The Y.ES Initiative seeks to, in addition to its other aims, create Community Hubs, which will be staffed by skilled people and equipped with modern technology, providing aspiring small businesses and business people with the facilities to boost their ideas and plans.
Any business can participate in the Y.E.S Initiative and will benefit not only from doing the right thing to support their communities and their national economy, but also stand to gain in terms of their BBBEE points. Any business can participate by sponsoring youth in employment for a period of 12 (TWELVE) months, by making sure that they comply with the minimum requirements listed hereunder, businesses can B-BBEE recognition.
The qualifying requirements in question are -
• For Generic Enterprises (entities with an annual revenue above R50 million)
o the entity must ensure that they achieve the 40% sub-minimum under each of the priority elements of B-BBEE scorecard; or
o the entity must achieve an average of 50% across the three priority elements.
• For Qualifying Small Entities (entities with an annual revenue more than R10 million but less than R50 million)
o the entity must ensure that they achieve at least 40% in two of the three priority elements, with Ownership being one of the two elements; or
o the entity must achieve an average score of 40% across two priority elements with Ownership being one of the two elements.
If the Y.E.S placement targets are successfully met and some of the youth so placed are absorbed into the permanent workforce of an entity, the entity stands to gain BBBEE levels and points.
Although there is some cost associated to taking on Y.E.S placements within an entity, the Initiative is not a profit-making body, and all income is directed at extending the YES placements into areas outside major metropolitan areas, such as rural provinces and township areas.
Successful implementation of the Y.E.S Initiative by entities will allow for such entities to increase or raise their BEE recognition level as follows:
• 1 level for meeting the youth employment target and 2.5% absorption;
• 1 level +3 points for 1.5 x youth employment target and 5% absorption;
• 2 levels for doubling the youth employment target and 5% absorption.
As of March 2019, over 400 companies in South Africa have joined the Y.E.S Initiative. The Initiative provides new positions for unemployed black, Indian or Coloured youth, within member companies or sponsored by them, for a period of twelve months, and for a minimum salary of R3500 per month. After the initial 12-month period has finished, the youth can be taken into the company as part of the permanent workforce. A position that has been secured through the YES Initiative is not the same as a learnership, internship or apprenticeship.