Helping youth find work while boosting tourism

From left, are YES CEO Ravi Naidoo; Y4T programme participants Tshepiso Makone, Sibusiso Zulu and Siyakudumisa Tom; and Sanlam CEO Paul Hanratty. Picture: supplied

Youth4Tourism (Y4T), a private-sector initiative to support unemployed youth while boosting tourism, was launched at the Norval Foundation on Tuesday October 24.

Spearheaded by Youth Employment Service (YES), a non-profit, and financial services group Sanlam, the initiative brings together a range of businesses, funders and partners to train and hire young people as tour guides, event coordinators, concierges, chefs, guest managers, travel agents, and content creators.

“Currently, we have 4.9 million unemployed young people in South Africa. This is a crisis as our demographic dividend should be our greatest shared asset,” said Sanlam CEO Paul Hanratty. “Y4T’s purpose is to help foster employability by growing our youth into micro-entrepreneurs with sought-after, future-fit skill sets.”

Tourism is a key part of the South African economy, and according to Stats SA, more than 2.7 million travellers passed through South Africa’s ports of entry and exit in January this year.

“Tourism is vital to South Africa’s economy and should be our top foreign revenue generator for the country,” said YES CEO Ravi Naidoo.

“It’s also a great sector for the employment of young people. As we look forward to rebuilding our tourism sector after the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to upskill young people and create a talent pipeline for the industry in various future-facing roles.

“The tourism sector is a key piece in solving the youth unemployment puzzle and is a fantastic opportunity for corporates and industry players to come on board. If we work together, we can expand our reach and give the unemployed youth of South Africa… hope for a promising future in the tourism sector.”

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