President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed the commitment of the private sector to work with government under the aegis of the soon-to-be-launched Youth Employment Service (YES) to empower one million young people over the next three years to become economically active.

President Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza led a government delegation to a meeting today, Friday 16 March 2018, with business leaders in Sandton, Johannesburg.

The meeting brought together chief executives and other senior leadership from a broad range of leading corporations, state-owned enterprises and employment and skills development initiatives.

The meeting was a preparatory session for the launch later this month of the Youth Employment Service. The Cabinet meeting of 14 March 2018 agreed that President Ramaphosa would launch the pilot of the Youth Employment Service initiative at the Riversands Incubation Hub in Diepsloot on 27 March 2018.

This initiative, in collaboration with the private sector, aims to empower one million young people over the next three years through year-long paid internships in companies.

At today’s meeting, business leadership reiterated the support of the private sector for the YES initiative and gave examples of existing efforts to employ more young people and elevate the skills required to participate in the workplace.

Addressing YES partners today, President Ramaphosa thanked Stephen Koseff of Investec Bank and Colin Coleman of Goldman Sachs for leading the business community in opening the doors of opportunity for young South Africans.

President Ramaphosa thanked business for the considerable number of programmes in which companies were already engaged to empower young people and said YES would “lift the hope of many young people and demonstrate that we are able to achieve a great deal through dialogue.”

He assured business that Cabinet was “very enthusiastic” about the YES initiative as a means to create pathways for young people.

The President said government was prepared to work with the private sector as partners in creating value and solving key problems facing the country.

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