By Malusi Msomi
BMW Group South Africa has announced its collaboration with the national Youth Employment Services (YES) programme, responding to the youth unemployment crisis in South Africa. The youth employment service is a private sector-led national movement of over 2,200 businesses, tackling one of the country’s biggest crisis by creating or sponsoring jobs for unemployed youth. These 12-month work experiences help equip youth to become future leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs.
It is estimated that more than seven million young people under the age of 35 in South Africa are unemployed or are discouraged from seeking work. The YES programme is a collaborative effort to address the scourge of youth unemployment in South Africa, providing high potential (18–34 years of age) from the most disadvantage backgrounds into quality work experiences. A national programme, it benefits both the companies that subscribe to it, as well as the country’s economic base by creating social impact through youth job creation.
On Friday, 9 December 2022, BMW Group South Africa became a YES agreement signatory by signing the CEO pledge. BMW Group South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa CEO, Peter van Binsbergen, and BMW Group Financial Services South Africa CEO, Stefan Schuett, committed to a total of 510 YES programme jobs across the nine provinces. The YES Youth will be placed within the BMW Group retailer network, in SMMEs, and in the ICT, education, and health sectors.
Speaking at the signing of the YES CEO pledge at the BMW Group South Africa headquarters in Midrand, Johannesburg, Peter van Binsbergen, CEO of BMW Group South Africa said, “The scourge of youth unemployment is one of South Africa’s biggest challenges. In the automotive industry in South Africa, and as the industry lead for transformation under the auspices of the South African Automotive Masterplan (SAAM), we have a clear transformation strategy. With targets for localisation, our Automotive Industry Transformation Fund (AITF), various Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) funds and clear employment targets for black and female South Africans, we aim to create a virtuous circle of employment and seeding new entrepreneurs in our industry. The challenge is that this takes time. The YES programme is instantaneous and tackles the age-old problem of one not finding a job without experience, and without a job, one cannot gain experience. The importance of getting a pay cheque and having a year of work experience at a reputable company, cannot be underestimated in terms of what it does for one’s CV and self-esteem.”
Van Binsbergen further commented on the importance of this step to the BMW Group, saying, “We feel a great sense of pride that we are contributing towards alleviating the key problem of our generation in South Africa.” And to other companies contemplating on embarking on the YES programme journey, he had this to say, “Don’t underestimate the energy of youth in your company, say yes to youth!’
Stefan Schuett, CEO of BMW Financial Services South Africa, commented on the importance of the YES programme, saying, “Youth are a flame, and skilled youth are an enabler for society. Being in the country for little over a year, and knowing South Africa’s tragic history, I am surprised at how deep the problem of unemployment and in particular youth unemployment still runs.”
Leave a comment