A highlight of Nedbank’s purpose-led transformation approach is its commitment to the Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative.
This national initiative, supported by over 1 500 companies, is a business-led collaboration with the government, and aimed at addressing one of South Africa’s most urgent challenges: unemployment.
This year, Nedbank empowered another 2 800 young people as part of the 2023 YES cohort. This brings the total number of youths touched by this impactful initiative to almost 10 000, with a larger footprint for the initiative in light of many YES youths who look after dependents or support their household incomes.
In 2023, the YES initiative reported that Nedbank and partnering organisations have already injected R6 billion into the economy through salaries earned by the youth who have participated in the initiative since its launch.
To date, Nedbank is still the largest bank to contribute to the YES initiative, which also resonates strongly with Nedbank’s purpose of using its financial expertise to do good for individuals, families, businesses and society.
‘We continue to see great value in the ability of the YES initiative to uncover extraordinary young talent and positively contribute to a more inclusive country.’
‘YES remains a highlight among Nedbank’s purpose-led transformation initiatives,’ says Kershini Govender, Nedbank’s Executive Head of Transformation and Strategy.
2023 Nedbank YES initiative
This year, Nedbank’s YES youths have been assigned to roles both in the bank and with implementation partners like Afrika Tikkun ZA, Africa Foundation, GWK, KP Cares, and WILDTRUST.
‘We have seen the far-reaching spin-offs that the programme has. Approximately 61% of YES youths come from homes that rely on social grants and 77% of YES youths support others with their income,’ adds Govender.
‘More than two-thirds of the work experience opportunities created through the Nedbank-YES partnership have been taken up by women, and several were placed in provinces with unemployment rates that are higher than the official national average of 33,9%.’
‘These provinces include Mpumalanga with an unemployment rate of 36,1%, Limpopo with 36,3% and the Eastern Cape with 42,8%.’
Nedbank’s success with the YES initiative
It is estimated that 46% of those who have completed the 2023 YES initiative are now employed. According to Govender, the initiative is a sterling example of what partnerships between government and the private sector can achieve.
At Nedbank, the initiative also boasts an absorption rate of over 60%, which is higher than the average.
‘We are extremely proud of this impactful initiative. Our young people are not only obtaining crucial skills and job experience, but the initiative also contributes to the economic upliftment of the communities and households in which these YES youths live,’ says Govender.