Tashmia Ismail-Saville, CEO of YES, hosts Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, on their visit to the YES Kago Community hub in Tembisa. Photo: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG – The Youth Employment Service (YES) is honoured to report that British royals Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, today visited the YES Kago Community Hub in Tembisa, the largest township in north Johannesburg, as part of their tour to South Africa.

YES is a pioneering, business-driven initiative which has partnered with government, civil society and labour to tackle South Africa’s youth unemployment crisis and drive youth employability. YES is recognised for its innovative approaches, contributions to policy amendment to support job creation and its technology supported model for training and scaling.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, in particular, has promoted this national programme and has reiterated a call for business to support this collective national movement to create youth jobs.

Since the start of operations in January 2019, YES and its partners have already created 21 119 new work opportunities across the country, quickly becoming one of the highest impact, non-government funded jobs initiatives in South Africa. 

During their visit, the royals were shown some of the innovative work being done by YES and its implementation partners, and were exposed to the diverse range of business activities and educational initiatives currently taking place at the YES Kago Hub.

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Tashmia Ismail-Saville, CEO of YES, said, “We are honoured to have been recognised for the progress that has been made in fostering youth employability. There is, of course, still much work to be done and we are hopeful that more businesses and individuals will join our movement and build a future that works for everyone.”

YES Community Hubs are a key component of YES’ strategy for stimulating sustainable, inclusive economic growth and creating shared value for youth, local communities, companies and the country. These Hubs aim to catalyse economic ecosystems by driving investment, spring-boarding new businesses and bringing frontier technology into South Africa’s peri-urban and township areas.

Some of the activities currently taking place at the Kago Community Hub include:

Digital training programmes: The Kago Community Hub is equipped with a cutting-edge ICT lab where youth are receiving 4IR training through partnerships with Google and Microsoft, including lessons in coding. 

Skills development programmes: The Hub offers a number of other professional training and skills development programmes for youth, with courses ranging from health and nutrition to entrepreneurship and agricultural management.

Business services: The Kago Community Hub offers a wide array of business support services, including a CIPC registration desk and business development staff to assist small business needs. Additionally, the Hub offers assistance to businesses and entrepreneurs with technology transfer, WiFi, offtake agreements and best practice training.

Urban aquaponic farming initiative: Launched in partnership with Nedbank and Afgri, the Kago Community Hub is home to a cutting-edge urban aquaponic farming facility. At the facility, youth are being trained in the use of production technologies for growing a range of high-quality fresh vegetables and fish which are then exported to surrounding markets.

Women-led manufacturing business: The Hub recently launched a manufacturing, sales and marketing business, Blossom Care Solutions, which utilises new-age technologies to produce and sell fully compostable, affordable sanitary products. Based on the concept of a product that is made for women, by women, at the end of its first year of production, the 12 young women who are currently working at the facility will take full ownership of the business via a social franchise.

Digigate, a tech development concept and facility: The 4IR capacity of the Hub has been expanded with an investment from Bidvest to include an exciting 22-seater digital training space called Digigate. This will make a notable impact on YES’ capacity to build the tech pipeline for recruitment from the township. Digigate offers a collaboration space and matching site for building tech skills, including for the YES Digigator platform, a free-to-use national aggregator.

Ismail-Saville notes that once all the planned enterprise development projects at the Kago Community are fully operational, YES and its partners will have created many permanent jobs and indirect jobs in the community. The biggest impact will however be seen with the seeding of new small business from the Hub, and the increased competitiveness of local businesses which will see larger numbers of local youth being absorbed into the local economy. The more partners YES attracts into investing into this ecosystem, the broader the impact.  

These enterprises are then expected to generate some R120 million in annual revenue, as well as an additional R55 million paid directly to staff as salaries, most of which will be spent locally.

In a day of celebrating the achievements of the YES Kago Hub, Toyota SA Motors has handed over a Hilux Double Cab to facilitate transport across the Hub’s various projects. Via YES, TSAM is facilitating employment for 497 youth from areas near its main operations, 25 of whom are at the Tembisa Hub, near its warehouse facilities.

Given the importance the President places on youth employment solutions and his recognition of   the YES initiative as a vehicle to help achieve this, it is fitting that the royals are set to end their South African tour with a meeting with President Ramaphosa in Pretoria later today.

Content supplied by The Youth Employment Service. Video: Alicia Ke_reviews.

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