YES WOMEN DO:

Building a more sustainable future for SA’s young women

Women’s Month has come and gone in South Africa, but as we continue to battle Covid-19 it remains women who bear the socio-economic brunt of the pandemic. The non-profit Youth Employment Service (YES) is working to change this by unlocking opportunities for young women. A recent YES survey shows that getting women into jobs is the most effective way to enhance employability. Providing young women with work experience through programmes such as YES helps build a more inclusive and sustainable economy, while setting up the next generation for a future that works. Despite many barriers, South African women are at the forefront of diverse movements for social change, both online and in the streets. Through YES, they’re doing unconventional jobs, from coding to conservation.

What is YES?

YES is a business-driven non-profit organisation which works to create opportunities for young people, breaking the experience trap. With over 1500 partners, YES has created nearly 60 000 12-month work experiences for unemployed youth in under 135 weeks, with no state funding. Such work experience, coupled with a CV and reference letter, doubles the chances of winning a job for women. The social impact of employing young females is immense. A total of 58% of YES youth are women, of whom 88% come from grant recipient households and 90% have dependents. With over R3.3 billion being ploughed into communities and the economy through YES, getting young people into jobs is creating an economic cascade that ripples through families and communities.

The problem

South Africa’s challenge remains breaking down the deep-rooted structural and socio-economic barriers preventing women from taking their seat at the decision-making table.

Of course women can. But with YES, they do.

YES has a range of programmes and implementation partners that empowers women to break into the job market equipped with the right skills to build a career, or even a thriving business:

• Blossom Care Solutions, a disruptive, women-led micro franchise provides women and girls with access to biodegradable feminine hygiene products by manufacturing and distributing low-cost sanitary pads. This keeps women and girls at work and in school, is kind to the environment and provides career and business opportunities to women with potential.

• The YES drone pilot programme, hosted at the Genesis Hub in Saldanha Bay on the West Coast, comprises 60% women. On completion of their pilot’s licences, all youth in the programme will be absorbed full-time into industries that require the use of drones, such as farming, insurance and many more.

• Khensani Mongwe, a previously unemployed woman from Mpumalanga, started her career in conservation with YES. Since she completed her 12-month work experience, she’s been offered a full-time position and is thriving at Sabi Sands Game Reserve.

• Rirhandzu Rikhotso joined the YES programme in 2018, and was placed in health care NGO, Aurum Institute, as a HIV self-screener. She was absorbed by the Aurum Institute, and has played an important role as a COVID-19 ambassador, recruiting people for trials and COVID-19 screening.

These are just some of the impactful ways YES is working to shrink gender inequality and unlock opportunities for young women. The YES IP (implementation partners) model was specifically designed so that YES youth, particularly women, do not have to commute far or move away from their families to access work opportunities. Through IP programmes, youth can work in their hometown and be close to their families in jobs that uplift and build their communities too. Together, we can empower young female leaders of tomorrow, amplify women’s voices and promote their participation and leadership in business and society. Sign up with YES by filling in the form on our website and begin creating opportunities. Help young women unlock their full potential and change the trajectory of future generations. Over and above the impact on the lives of young women, businesses of all sizes have found YES to be a cost-effective, high-impact way of delivering jobs while gaining up to two levels up on their B-BBEE scorecards – a true broad-based transformation approach. More than 550 companies have already levelled up their B-BBEE scorecards through YES. #SayYES to a future that works for all.

www.yes4youth.co.za

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