Youth Month is usually a time to reflect on the sacrifices of generations past to empower the youth of today. 44 years since the event that the national holiday commemorates, 2020 is a particularly challenging year for South African youth in the face of a pandemic that has placed a significant strain on our country’s economy. Where youth unemployment was an issue that the country had been grappling with for a while (by the end of 2019, approximately 60% of South Africa’s employable youth were without jobs and, within an economy that was experiencing slow to no growth, prospects were limited), the effects of of the worldwide pandemic have exacerbated our plight.
Corporate-led initiatives to mitigate the effects of this have aided. One such example is the partnership of the Multichoice Group with the Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative which has resulted in the creation of 400 new job opportunities. In addition, the Multichoice Group has created 100 sports coaching learnerships through its Let’s Play initiative. The two partnerships equate to a total investment of R50 million towards putting 500 South African youth to work. A company with a history of investing in grass-roots structures that feed into its operations, this particular investment will culminate in youth being employed in industries that include telecommunication, human resource management, engineering, satellite communication, coaching and ICT. In addition, the opportunity has been spread to youngsters across different provinces, including Eastern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and North West.
Of the initiative, Dr Tashmia Ismail-Saville, Chief Executive Officer of YES, says: “MultiChoice is pioneering the behaviours we need to see all companies display in the future, as it embraces true transformation. This COVID-19-battered economy is seeing unprecedented job losses and economic fallout and youth are once again going to bear 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 support the country’s way out of the crisis by creating employment opportunities and incomes so desperately needed for our communities to emerge less bruised.”
The YES initiative is a business-led collaboration with government to create work opportunities for unemployed black South Africans between the ages of 18 and 35. Through the MultiChoice partnership, candidates in the initiative will be given new electronic devices, such as laptops, so that they can fully participate in training.
Group CEO Calvo Malwela said, “Our business is all about enriching lives and creating magic; creating spaces where people can imagine and live their dreams. It is an incredible opportunity to be able to translate this magic into something that will benefit the youth of South Africa who will soon be entering the workforce and contributing to our economy. By investing in, and developing the youth of South Africa, MultiChoice is helping to shape the industries of the future.”