- Work experience opportunities accelerate chances of finding a job
- Youth development is imperative in a developing economy
Kariega – Youth development and job creation are essential elements in fostering economic growth, social stability, and the overall wellbeing of a society.
Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) has been at the forefront of hosting candidates who have no work experience since the inception of the Youth Employment Services (YES) programme, which was initiated by the government in 2018 in response to the high levels of youth unemployment.
This month (July), VWSA welcomed 209 new candidates who were placed in various departments across the company over a 12-month period. A further 228 candidates will be placed at the dealer network and community organisations later in the year. Including this year’s intake, a total of 2 602 YES candidates were granted an opportunity to gain work experience through the company and its affiliates. Since 2019, an average of eight percent of the candidates were permanently employed every year.
During their stay at VWSA, YES candidates follow a rigorous training programme while also gaining on the job experience. “This helps with youth employability. When they leave the company they have some experience, work etiquette and skills which position them favourably for job vacancies,” Nonkqubela Maliza, VWSA Corporate Affairs and Government Director.
Siphokazi Wonci, VWSA tour guide, was a YES candidate in 2020. After the completion of her 12-month contract, she was recruited by the company to work at the Volkswagen AutoPavilion. She knows the Kariega plant like the palm of her hand, taking visitors on plant tours daily. During her training she obtained a towmotor driver’s license and as tour guide she drives the Volkswagen tour wagon.
“I was unemployed since I matriculated in 2013 and even after completing my management course at Eastern Cape Midlands College, I struggled to find work,” said Wonci.
The 29-year-old from KwaNobuhle, the largest township in Kariega, said she gained invaluable experience during the YES programme. “My computer literacy improved and I learnt about communication, having compiled the weekly newsletter. I also gained customer service experience and improved my administration skills,” said Wonci.
In addition to the YES programme, VWSA offers internships and apprenticeships, allowing young people to acquire practical experience and develop their skills in real-world settings.
“Commitment to youth development and job creation requires sustained efforts and collaboration from multiple stakeholders. By investing in education, fostering entrepreneurship, providing practical experiences, and creating supportive environments, societies can empower young people and pave the way for a prosperous and inclusive future,” said Russell Coleman, VWSA Human Resources Director.
According to YES4YOUTH.CO.ZA the YES programme is helping to reduce unemployment in very practical ways and has seen more than 100 000 South Africans between the ages of 18 and 29 in local business for a year of work experience since 2018. During this time, approximately R6 billion in youth salaries was injected into the economy.