Diversified mining and renewable energy solutions company, Exxaro Resources’ partnership with the Youth Employment Services (‘YES’) programme, has led to 259 youth in its host communities from Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces being afforded job opportunities, since the inception of the programme in quarter one of 2022.
Given the risks and opportunities inherent in the communities where Exxaro operates, the company’s Human Rights Policy has identified the right to equal opportunities/non-discrimination and transformation as key areas of potential impact related to Human Rights that the business aims to address.
According to the Statistics South Africa - youth unemployment rate, measuring job-seekers between 15 and 24 years old, rose to 61% in the fourth quarter of 2022, up from a two-year low of 59.6% in the previous period.
Based on this context, Exxaro is continuously looking for ways to lessen youth unemployment challenges - by upskilling the youth around its operations. Tebogo Leepile, Community Development Manager for Exxaro, explained that preparing the youth for the future is key. “We have committed to implementing life changing positive impact within our host communities in Mpumalanga and Limpopo through strengthening our partnership with the YES programme and other stakeholders within our communities. The YES programmes (LulaRides and SME Tax), provides employment opportunities to 259 youth in 2022. Our goal is to get these young participants to a state of financial independence.”
“Once the training is complete, the individuals are assigned to Mr Delivery or UberEATS for practical experience,” Leepile explained. The youth earn a stipend from this programme and an income from UberEats and Mr Delivery. The LulaRides programme will be rolled out in the Lephalale area later this year.
In 2022, Exxaro aimed to enroll 400 youth from their Mpumalanga host communities into the LulaRides programme, and of these - 209 youth were enrolled and trained from the Kriel, Witbank, Middleburg and Delmas communities. The group was made up of 41% female and 59% male candidates who have learner’s licenses. Exxaro provides these youth with bike helmets, gloves, delivery bags and cellphones.
Sizwe Nene, a LulaRides programme participant, shared, “Exxaro and LulaRides changed my life, I learned to be an independent worker, and I am able to provide for my family. I would advise all young individuals to associate themselves with Exxaro and LulaRides Programmes and Internships, they will get the opportunity to grow at an early age. The YES4Youth programme is really a life changing opportunity.”
These programmes aim to prepare unemployed youth with the necessary skills to build and develop themselves for future economic opportunities.
The SME.Tax programme, which was rolled out in Exxaro’s Lephalale and Mpumalanga host communities, enrolled 50 youth in 2022, achieving its set goal. This group of participants comprised 78% female and 22% male. Through the SME.Tax programme, youth with qualifications in Accounting have been recruited to undergo a skills development programme and training for two years.
Benjamin Ratlabyane, a YES4Youth participant enrolled in the SME.Tax initiative said, “The partnership between Exxaro and YES4Youth has helped me a lot because it has given me an opportunity to learn a new skill. I think it’s a good thing for companies and the government to be in partnership because it gives young people like me a chance at a traineeship which gains me experience and skills in something that can get me future employment.”
“Our community and youth responses to these programmes have been overwhelmingly positive, giving them hope to a better and brighter future. We will continue to inspire change and development in all the communities we operate in,” Leepile concluded.