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Corporates Upskill Youth To Reclaim Their Stolen Covid 19 Dignity

The Youth Content Collective (YCC) is an initiative by Youth Employment Service (YES), in partnership with the Metropolitan GetUp plan, and the goal is to eradicate youth unemployment.

Statistics South Africa a few months ago released its Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) with included some shocking figures. The age groups 15-24 and 24-34 recorded the highest unemployment rates, of 63.3% and 41.3% respectively.

Chief executive of YES Leanne Emry said the one-year programme was meant to connect young, talented black content creators with business and enable them to become entrepreneurs or find sustainable incomes.

“YES is about creating economic participation opportunities for young South Africans. To date, we have created over 60,000 work opportunities for black youth in South Africa with the help of 1,600 partners and this meant we injected over R3.4 billion back into the economy,” she said.

YES conducted research last year to see what business opportunities were available for young people.

“One of the insights which came from the research particularly pointed to the marketing and advertising industry. Marketers and advertisers wanted relevant local content that spoke to our target audience and which included: videography, photography, illustrations and graphic designs that were relevant to us and the country and that was how the initiative was born,” she said.

Photographer Kgothatso Mahlaku expressed his gratitude to be on the programme.

“The Alexandra township inspired me to be in this industry. I have always had a great passion for media and advertising and I am excited to be part of the programme,” he said.

Mahlaku saw the programme as a stepping stone for his future endeavours.

“I would encourage other content creators out there to hop on because it was exciting and full of opportunities. I am happy that one of my pictures is being utilised in the offices which is a huge milestone as I had never thought something like that would happen. It was a stepping stone to where I wanted to be.”

Grace Tsele, an advanced photography student, said she read about the programme online.

“I found out about the programme via the internet when I was searching for jobs while studying. I had to submit a prole of my work and they liked it and I was shortlisted. So far, the journey has been great. We were given our second assignment where we‘re supposed to work with Ford,” she said.

Tsele said she hoped to work with creative agencies in future. “My goal included a partnership with one of the sponsors at the end of the programme and hopefully I will work for a creative agency.”

Emry confirmed that Ford South Africa was one of the sponsors of the programme.

“Ford SA will be sponsoring these first 50 youth salaries throughout the one—year programme. “We had 50 young content creators who started with their briefs and they would be housed in Alexandra township,” she said.

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