The Youth Enterprise Society
The YES Story
The Youth Enterprise Society (YES) Programme is designed to meet a very real national need. With fewer than 10% of South African school leavers able to find employment, something significant had to be done to help enable our youth to lead more productive and meaningful lives.
Designed and developed after three years of intensive research and consultation by The Education With Enterprise Trust (EWET), the YES Programme's mission is:
EMPOWER YOUNG PEOPLE, THROUGH ENTERPRISE, TO BECOME MASTERS OF THEIR OWN
DESTINIES. Or put another way, to help more and more young
people to become business creators rather than simply job seekers.
Honed by a three year pilot programme conducted in the north-eastern Free State, YES is an extramural multiracial school based "learning by doing" programme for grade 9 (std 7), grade 10 (std 8) and grade 11 (std 9) pupils.
The programme involves whole communities, including local business people, trade union representatives, educationalists and other community members and is designed to create awareness and interest in free-market entrepreneurship as a career option amongst young people.
After meeting certain requirements, interested parties within a community form a "Local Partnership" (LP) which then initiates YES Societies at one or more schools in their area.
Under the guidance of specially trained teachers, students learn, practice and develop a variety of business skills during their twice weekly meetings. Learning the importance and means of creating capital ownership and wealth within their community.
The medium to longer term aim being to establish a future entrepreneurial stratum, especially in regions of low income populations, which can then help create jobs, build community resources and thus help contribute to the overall national economy.
Students are invited by their peers to join and each YES Society involves three to six specially trained teachers who act as YES Advisors and 45 students, broken down into three teams:
15 x grade 9 (standard
7), entitled "Pioneers"
Matric students are not involved, leaving them free to focus totally on their final year at school. Those who participated in the programme and "graduated" are known as "YES alumni".
Numbers permitting, there can be more than one YES Society per school, which does introduce a healthy competitive climate. Society leadership is with the youth who elect their own office bearers and run their own affairs. Teachers act purely as facilitators and a link to the Local Partnership (LP), who's members judge and evaluate the students progress.
Once established, a YES Society commences by electing their office bearers. Firstly for the Society as a whole and then again within each of the three grade 9, 10 and 11 (standard 7,8 and 9) teams.
Campaigning by the students is usually their first exposure to mass motivation and is in itself a good learning experience, resulting in an executive committee comprising:
President Vice - President Secretary Treasurer Public relations Officer Constitutional Adviser Team Chairpersons
The Society and Teams can also appoint their own Temporary Committees to handle delegated projects and all office bearers and committee members receive instructions on their specific duties and responsibililties.
The whole Society meets once a week to review, discuss, initiate and delegate "Society projects". These sessions are chaired by the Society President, with the Society Secretary taking the minutes and other committee members reporting when called upon to do so. This is akin to divisions meeting within a large corporation.
Teams separate for their other weekly meeting, each chaired and run by their own committees. These are the workshop sessions where teams focus on their specific "Team projects" and receive guidance and skills training in a variety of essential business competencies.
Throughout the three
year programme YES Members focus on developing skills in the following
17 entrepreneurial competencies, with the content of each becoming broader
and more complex with each passing year:
Encouraged by team spirit, peer pressure and the guidance of their specially trained advisors, YES Members select and participate in "hands-on" team projects designed to help develop skills in each of the above competencies.
Throughout the year teams are required to make presentations to panels from their LP, usually comprised of local business people and the relevant YES Advisor. Those individual team members whom a panel deems to have satisfied the laid down criteria then receive the "Credit Sticker" for their level of that particular competency to attach to their competency certificate.
If competition in business is healthy then amongst those interested in learning the skills of entrepreneurship it is vital.
Fostering this spirit of adventure is the 3 day Annual National Competitive YES Conference. Designed to regard those YES participants who have excelled during the course of that year, it affords them the opportunity to compete against each other nationally. Putting the best against the best.
The qualifying route is not easy. For a student to make it to the conference they must not only excel in their own Society, but also within their full LP area, their Region and finally gain selection to represent their Province.
At the conference,
YES Members compete in 10 individual events and 4 team events, for Gold,
Silver and Bronze medals. In addition to that the following national awards
are also made:
While the overall objective of the YES Programme is to help alleviate unemployment by encouraging young people to consider entrepreneurship as a career option, to expect all who participate to start their own businesses would be unrealistic.
For this reason The Education With Enterprise Trust (EWET) envisages that YES Graduates will successfully go one of three ways - viz.:
Start own business (target 21%)
Of those students who participated in the YES Programme that finished school at the end of 1995, all realised one of the above. Suggesting that YES is an idea who's time is now.
EMPOWERING PEOPLE THROUGH ENTERPRISE TO BECOME MASTERS OF THEIR OWN DESTINIES.
The Education With
Yes Quotes :
"EWET's Youth Enterprise Society (YES) Programme is endorsed by the RDP Commission as a RDP programme."Mr M.A. Dukwana - RDP Commissioner (now MEC of Education) -RDP: http://www.polity.org.za/govdocs/rdp/rdp.html#CONTENTS
"The Department of Education and Culture of the Free State endorse the YES programme of EWET. Involvement of teachers as YES Advisors and the utilisation of school premises as sites for YES operations demonstrates my department's openness to partnerships with NGO's for achieving effective education and training."Mr T.S. Belot - MEC for Education and Culture (now MEC of Economic Affairs)- Free State Education: http://www.gcisgov.za/
"We are proud to recognise the Education With Enterprise Trust for its participation and contribution in helping to create a culture of learning in South Africa."Prof Sibusiso Bengu - Minister of Education - National Education: http://polity.org.za/lists/govdepts.html#DOE
"It had been a privilege for NAFCOC to be part and parcel of the formation and establishment of EWET. We are proud of what we achieved. We believe that the full participation of NAFCOC chambers (in the YES Programme) at local level would allow for the same level of achievement as we experienced."Mr Beef Molefe - President: NAFCOC: Free State - NAFCOC: http://www.infoafrica.co.za/General_Section/addressesforbusinessmen.htm
"The success of EWET could well serve as a role model for other areas and institutions. We strongly support the involvement of chambers of commerce." Mr Gerrie Bezuidenhout - Manager: Labour Affairs: South African Chamber of Business - SACOB: http://mweb.co.za/sacob/index.html/
"The Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut think the initiative is applaudable and would gladly assist, if so requested." Dr M. van den Berg - Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut : http://www.ahi.co.za/banner.html
"I believe that what you are trying to do is very good. There is no doubt that we must make the economy accessible to those who have been disadvantaged."Don McRobert - Get Ahead Foundation - Get Ahead: http://www.momentum.co.za/Library/overview/getahead.htm
"Our Corporation fully supports any endeavour which will result in the development of entrepreneurs. Should you feel the SBDC can play a role, we would certainly like to assist you in your endeavours."Mr A.M. Kedzierski: Senior General Manager - Small Business Development Corporation- SBDC: http://www.businesspartners.co.za/
"I experienced a difference in my child since she became a YES member. She assumes greater responsibility in executing duties around the house and is clear about what she wants to achieve with her future."Parent of a YES Member
"Those children in my class who are YES members have got more self confidence for class room participation and there is in many cases an increase in academic achievement."Teacher: Nomshado Matselane
"I now know how to create a job for myself. It is not necessary to look for a job if you can start your own business."YES Member: Ms. Moloi
society operations society structure YES package supporters
national competitive conference local partnership-accreditation YES project office
national structure YES implementation five annual awards