More than 2 800 unemployed young people entered the world of work as Nedbank inducted its 2023 cohort into the Youth Employment Service (YES) programme at the bank this past week, bringing the number of work experience opportunities created by Nedbank since 2019 to almost 10 000.
Deb Fuller, group executive for Human Resources at Nedbank, said each of the 2 818 young people who joined the 2023 Nedbank YES programme this morning would access the very best on-the-job training, development and mentorship available. “This is an opportunity to hone their skills and gain valuable work experience,” Fuller said.
This year’s cohort has been assigned to roles both in Nedbank and the bank’s implementation partners. They will obtain experience in the jobs of the future, including working in renewable energy (solar installation), wildlife conservation, agriculture and education, as well as in corporate roles within the bank itself.
Fuller said given technological advancements and South Africa’s pressing need for people skilled in renewable energy, agro-processing, and other high-growth sectors, they were pleased to place their YES youths with partners working in strategic focus areas for them. “These implementation partners support both the country’s priorities as well as Nedbank’s strategic focus areas, helping us to reach sustainability targets and meet the needs brought about by digital disruption and changes to the world of work.”
The YES initiative resonates with Nedbank’s purpose, which is to use their financial expertise to do good for individuals, families, businesses and society, and provides the perfect platform to do their bit to reduce devastatingly high levels of youth unemployment, Fuller said. This year’s implementation partners include Afrika Tikkun, the Africa Foundation, GWK, KP Cares and WILDTRUST, and are based in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, North West and Mpumalanga provinces.
Nedbank was the largest YES participant in the financial services sector, having created more than 7 000 work experience opportunities before this year’s intake. YES youths not only received work experience, but were provided with hard skills, and supported with mentoring to obtain the “soft” skills that equipped them to thrive once the year was over. Nedbank’s YES programme was also exceptional for its absorption rate, with more than 1 140 YES youths having been absorbed by Nedbank and partner organisations since 2019.
The group executive said they continued to see great value in the YES programme’s ability to uncover extraordinary young talent, with many of this young talent finding roles on Nedbank’s permanent payroll after completing their YES learnership.
More than two-thirds of the work opportunities created through the Nedbank YES partnership were said to have been taken up by women and several were placed in provinces where the unemployment rate was higher than the official national average of 33.9%, including Mpumalanga (where unemployment sits at 36.1%), Limpopo (36.3%) and the Eastern Cape (42.8%).
Through their programme, the youth will not only obtain skills and job experience, but also uplift the communities and households from which they come, with a massive multiplier effect.
YES chief executive officer Ravi Naidoo commended Nedbank, saying YES was excited to continue its long-standing partnership with Nedbank and to see the youth in this programme flourish and create a better tomorrow, today. “The Youth Employment Service (YES) is the highest impact private sector youth employment programme in South Africa, working with over 1 500 businesses to tackle the country’s youth unemployment crisis,” Naidoo said.
“Nedbank, as one of pioneering partners of the programme, has been with us from the start, empowering young people to become future leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs – the game-changers of tomorrow. Through partnership with businesses like Nedbank, that are integrating YES into their ESG agenda by placing youth in roles ranging from IT, HR and marketing to waste management, solar PV installation and ecotourism, an economic ripple effect is triggered, which helps reignite communities and our economy.”