Understanding South Africa’s Youth Employment Service (YES Initiative)

Understanding South Africa’s Youth Employment Service (YES Initiative)


Youth Employment Service (YES Initiative)

The current unemployment rate in South Africa stands at a record of 34,20 percent. Of the 34.20 percent statistics have it that nearly 60 percent are the youth.

Initiatives to prevent the graph from going higher have been implemented and this includes the Youth Employment Service better known as YES Initiative.

In 2018 the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) gazetted the Youth Employment Service (YES) inclusion in the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Codes of Good Practice. The program was then launched by President Cyril. The YES Initiative aims to get businesses to help the government create critical skills for young people in South Africa.

It is a business-led collaboration working on creating opportunities for the youth to reignite the economy. It aims to achieve this through innovation and technological practices.

Since its launch, the YES Initiative together with over 2200 partner companies has helped over 100 000 youths with slight chances of getting work experience.

The bigger aim of the YES Initiative is to create between 300 000 and 500 000 jobs and job opportunities for young Black South Africans in urban, peri-urban, and rural areas in a space of 3 years. The program partners with corporates to contribute to youth empowerment issues that are deemed to be of national priority. 

It addresses unemployment by upskilling the youth through job placements in partnering companies. The program does not only focus on job placements for youth but also promotes a culture of continuous innovation to change the status quo. 

It encourages youth to be innovative in their various fields and trains them to create jobs for other Youths as well. 

Benefits so far

Despite tough economic times over 98,000+ work opportunities for youth have been created through partnerships and partner companies.

Who Qualifies to be part of the YES program?

  • The YES Initiative is open for South African Citizens who are aged 18- 34. 
  • Employed citizens do not qualify to apply for this program. 
  • It is important for applicants to understand that YES Initiative is not a job recruitment program but helps the youth with taking up job opportunities and training them in various disciplines.


Visit Youth Employment Service Initiative (YES) Website



African Union Commission Scholar || Founder @ Youth Opportunities Hub || Former RBA COST/Sahel Team at UNDP || TEF Alumni ||

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