HomeEducationYes, it is #YouthMonth and #YES goes live

Yes, it is #YouthMonth and #YES goes live

by  Marius Meyer

The month of June has arrived, and June is a special month in South Africa for three reasons:

  • It is the official start of the South African winter, and the good rains in Cape Town and the coldest inland nights of the year are evidence of this fact.
  • June is a good month for individuals and organisations to reflect on the first half of the year in terms of achieving our goals, reflecting on successes and challenges, and of course, looking forward and planning to leverage the last six months of the year on a high note.
  • We also commemorate Youth Day and we celebrate Youth Month to once again put the spotlight on youth empowerment.

The launch of the Youth employment Service (YES) by President Cyril Ramaphosa last month is the beginning of a formal strategy by government, working with business and other stakeholders to offer a million internships to the youth.  While it is too early to evaluate the effectiveness of this initiative, it is clear that government has now decided to convert talk shops into action.  However, it is essential for this initiative to be effective and sustainable so that meaningful full-time jobs can be created, Ultimately, good initiatives such as this one require effective implementation, let alone the need of a much better economic growth to ensure its growth and sustainability. Jobs for the youth cannot be created in a vacuum, it must be integrated into sustainable human capital development strategies and economic activity.


“Our most grave and most pressing challenge is youth unemployment. It is therefore a matter of great urgency that we draw young people in far greater numbers into productive economic activity. Young South Africans will be moved to the centre of our economic agenda.  If we are to respond effectively to the needs of the youth, it is essential that young people articulate their views.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa


In the spirit of Youth Month, the SABPP team members have visited several campuses over the last month to interact with our HR youth. It was wonderful to connect with students from the University of Pretoria (HR Tuks), Durban University of Technology and North-West University (both Vaaltriangle and Mafikeng campuses) during May. The HR Career session held at the University of Pretoria was a big success and we thank the HR Tuks team for their excellent leadership in making it happen, and for our HR Managers who inspired the students with their presentations.

In addition, to support government’s focus on Youth Month, the June edition of HR Voice, as well as our June Fact Sheet  is dedicated to the youth. To further expand our “HR Voice” Strategy, we are proud to launch a new series in HR Voice this month, called “Unemployed Voice”.  Following a successful meeting between SABPP and the research team members of Optentia at North-West University, it was agreed to provide a voice to the unemployed. As active citizens, the HR professional and academic community will share their research and invite the unemployed, in particular the youth, to be featured as part of “Unemployed Voice.” Let us give a voice to the unemployed and start to work towards reducing unemployment in South Africa. A special word of thanks to Prof Ian Rothmann and Dr Leoni van der Vaart from the Optentia team at North-West University for their leadership in this regard.  We look forward to any comments from HR Professionals and business leaders and any other contributions on the topic of unemployment.

I invite HR Managers to use the month of June as a special opportunity to channel all the media attention on the youth to tangible and sustainable programmes and actions empowering the youth.  Let us really use our HR professionalism and knowledge this month in revitalising all efforts in empowering our youth.  Yes, among other things, we need to make the President’s YES programme work and I hope the SABPP June Fact Sheet on YES will provide you with some inspiration and guidelines to become involved.

And unlike previous years, our attention on the youth must not stop on 30 June.





Marius Meyer is CEO of the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP). For more information about the YES programme, go to www.yes4youth.co.za

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Marius Meyer is CEO of the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP), the professional body for HR practitioners and Education and Training Quality Assurance Body for HR in South Africa.


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