EOH and 702 have launched a bold campaign targeting business and working with government, that aims to tackle the national challenge of youth unemployment.
The EOH 702 Youth Job Creation Challenge calls on companies to take on 3% of their workforce in learnerships and internships for unemployed matric and university qualified youth, to make a meaningful impact on job creation in South Africa.
Far from a charity initiative, this challenge seeks to unlock the potential of government’s youth wage subsidy, as well as tax rebates for skills development to ensure that business, the individuals employed and the country as a whole, all benefit and grow.
Speaking at the launch of the initiative on Friday morning, Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan said: “We need to put our heads and hands together as government, business and labour in order to show growth. There are huge possibilities to do things together, not only to use the government resources that are available but to invest our own to.”
Gordhan challenged the CEOs who attended the breakfast to get involved. “Invest in the youth, pick up the baton and make your own contribution.” For EOH, this is already part of their business culture.
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“Business in South Africa can’t think like our counterparts in developed countries, there they have responsibility primarily to their shareholders. In SA, business must have a much broader role which must include the well-being of our society. The interesting thing is that this kind of thinking is not in conflict with shareholders interest. It is harder to run a successful business in a failing society…” said Asher Bohbot EOH CEO.
Research shows that work experience, more than education, is a key factor in employability.
EOH’s Brian Gubbins recently spoke to 702’s John Robbie and noted the importance of giving the youth work-ready skills. “To give a young person a year’s work experience, shows an 80% likelihood of that person staying in the formal work sector,” he said.
EOH has successfully trialed the initiative in their own business for the past four years, with great results. In 2012, they had 4 000 employees, and brought in 600 unemployed youth through learnerships and internships.
“These were kids with matric, or a university qualification, generally from very poor backgrounds and yet their motivation was amazing and by the end of the year EOH absorbed around 80% into the business – with a huge benefit to the business as well as the youth,” said Gubbins.
Since then, EOH has brought in approximately 2 000 unemployed youth and continue to grow a significant portion of those, into permanent roles.
For companies who are interested, EOH has a model to help implement and roll out a sizable internship and learnership programme in their organisations.
“We were impressed at the scale and sustainability of the EOH programme, and the passion they have for it because they have seen the broader benefits that these youth bring to their whole workforce” said 702 station manager, Thabisile Mbete.
“We believe that unemployment is one of the most dangerous issues affecting our society at the moment and if corporates and companies of all sizes adopt this initiative, we think we can make a real difference to job-seeking youth, and to the country.”
For details on the EOH 702 Job Creation Challenge and how to implement it in your workplace, visit www.eoh.co.za.