CAPE TOWN – After Statistics South Africa revealed an unemployment rate for youth aged between 15 and 24 of a staggering 55.2 percent for the first quarter of 2019, it is heart-warming to hear that businesses are rising to the challenge placed on them by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

PG Group (PG), South Africa’s leading glass manufacturer and supplier, has heeded the president’s call to create new work opportunities for the country’s vast number of unemployed youth.

In collaboration with the Youth Employment Service (YES), PG is creating job opportunities across all its business divisions nationwide, with the aim of addressing and alleviating poverty, tackling socioeconomic challenges and lowering youth unemployment.

The group’s YES journey began in October 2018 with an initial intake of 120 youth who commenced their experiential workplace programmes. A national recruitment drive for a second intake of 120 youth is currently under way, as the group ramps up its efforts to provide job opportunities in support of the national initiative.

“The YES programme is one of many undertakings that we have embarked on to provide training and skills development for hundreds of black individuals in the last ten years,” elaborates Charles Bromley the CEO of the PG Group. “These activities have provided many opportunities to upskill youth in the glass sector.”

“We are delighted to be able to facilitate programmes using the infrastructure and training courses that we have developed over several years to enhance the skills of our youth. We are providing both experience and training to people who are eager to grow themselves in our society today,” adds Bromley.

“We hope that this programme will help to provide many with a critical first step to becoming active participants in our economy. We have worked for many years with the DTI and the SETAs to establish the capability, material and programmes that will make this YES initiative a success, and we are confident that the youth who we have recruited will learn many skills and will be rewarded with enhanced experience through their engagement with us.”

“An imperative for us at YES is around building the sustainability of the initiative,” comments Dr Tashmia Ismail-Saville, Chief Executive of YES. “Having partners like PG, who are committing together, as a business collective, for the long term is what the country needs. It is therefore really rewarding to see these critical stakeholders in the success of the economy – business and youth – benefitting from their relationship with YES. We are already entering a dynamic new phase of YES where we see businesses beginning to engage their second-year cohorts and we look forward to an exciting future.”

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE