NGOs crucial to social justice and transformation

World NGO Day, commemorated on Tuesday, highlighted the importance of this sector in bringing about social justice and transformation.

The Youth Employment Service (YES), in particular, is making a major impact in the youth employment space, having created 134 350 work placements in five short years.

This programme has become a beacon of hope for the youth in Gauteng and other provinces.It was launched in 2019 in partnership with private sectors to provide experience for youth in order to bridge the gap between the years of experience employers are looking for.YES chief executive Ravi Naidoo said these programmes added value not only by providing income, but by also helping graduates network and make contacts that may lead to other opportunities.“The YES programme came to fruition in partnership with private companies in the private sector to address the crisis of youth unemployment and intervention that includes various programmes to assist younger job seekers,” he said.He said that the youth are facing major barriers to finding jobs, with many businesses requiring some level of quality work experience and training prior to employment.According to YES’s statistics, the programme has created more than 131 435 jobs in four years and 53% of beneficiaries come from grant-recipient households.Kgomotso Seku, a Business Intelligence Data Analyst at Nedbank, from Hammanskraal, said she thought she had made it because she had overcome a massive adversity to get a degree in mathematics from the University of Pretoria, but landing a job seemed out of her grasp.She said her quest for employment was hindered by numerous obstacles, like millions of young job seekers.She further said that she would use a local school’s wi-fi to send her documents and check for job posts.“Discovering the YES programme changed my life forever; in 2019, I started a 12-month work experience as a data management trainee at Nedbank. With the help of YES and Nedbank, I honed my skills and rose through the ranks. Today, I am a business intelligence data analyst in Nedbank’s Wealth Division,” she added.Asanda Nqoko, based in Kempton Park, said the YES team became a supportive community, encouraging his development as a photographer.He said while participating in the YES programme, he reignited his photography passion and restarted his side business.“The YES programme provided entrepreneurship modules that equipped me with the tools to run a business effectively. A golden opportunity came my way when I got to shoot for the megastar Beyoncé’s clothing brand, Ivy Park,” he said.Naidoo said the programme is proving to be a “game changer” in South Africa, where the low economic growth rate means that the unemployment trend is not reversing.“What we need are jobs and initiatives that have a multiplier effect down the line. If South Africa is to succeed over the next 10 years, we need to get as many of our talented youths as possible into meaningful roles in the economy,” Naidoo said.

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