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10 January 2022
UWC to participate in Presidential Youth Employment Stimulus (PYES) programme
Dear Campus Community

The CEO of Universities South Africa (USAf) has communicated to UWC that the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) is participating in the Presidential Youth Employment Stimulus (PYES) programme, a government programme coordinated by the office of the Presidency. This programme seeks to provide temporary employment opportunities for young graduates from universities who have not been able to find employment and also offer opportunities for graduates to gain useful experience in a range of areas that can improve their readiness for employment and open up career pathways that may not have been available without work experience. Participation in this project is an opportunity for universities to contribute to the development of young graduates

The DHET presented the Presidential Youth Employment Stimulus Programme to the USAf Board at its meeting in October 2021. In principle, the USAf Board (Vice-Chancellors) supported the initiative and requested the DHET to engage with Senior HR Directors around the implementation modalities and other related matters.

USAf convened a meeting with Senior HR Directors on 10 December 2021, where the DHET presented the Presidential Youth Employment Stimulus Programme. Universities were requested to confirm their willingness to participate in the PYES opportunity on or before 17 January 2022 and to confirm the university contact person and contact details for the project. A follow-up meeting is planned for 27 January 2022.

It has been confirmed that the maximum number of positions available is 3000 across 26 universities. Universities South Africa (USAf) will be project managing the implementation of the Presidential Youth Employment Stimulus Programme to place 3000 graduates across the 26 public universities with oversight by the DHET. The programme will offer fixed term employment opportunities, that is, 115 placements per public university for unemployed graduates between 18 and 35 years of age, with no guarantee of continuity or permanent employment. Replacements will be allowed within 60 days from the date of commencement of the universities project. The fixed-term placement will be capped at six months. A stipend of R 5000 00 per month per graduate placement (will be paid to universities for a maximum period of six months) by the DHET. PYES Programme Graduates will be employed and contracted (fixed term) by universities and be subject to the respective University Terms and Conditions of Employment.

Graduate placements must ideally be completed on or before 15 March 2022, although a later date may be agreed on with USAf and the DHET (should challenges be experienced). Universities will be responsible for advertising and recruiting graduates for placement.

Training needs must be identified and implemented to ensure that graduates are adequately capacitated to do the necessary work. Institutions will have to demonstrate the capacity to undertake this at the outset. Universities will provide monthly reports through the mechanism established in the DHET to manage the process. A standard reporting template will be designed and equipped for reporting purposes. The reporting template will provide for challenges experienced, lessons learned, and recommendations for future such placements. Timesheets will have to be kept for each graduate and will have to be signed off by the immediate supervisor daily.


  • Youth unemployment and underemployment remain some of the South African economy's most significant challenges
  • South Africa has the highest Gini coefficient globally, making it an unequal society. Additionally, we have the highest global youth unemployment statistics, which the COVID 19 pandemic has exacerbated
  • Youth aged 15 24 years are more vulnerable in the labour market, with an unemployment rate of over 63, an absorption rate of almost 7 6 and a labour force participation rate of 20 6 % (Stats SA 2021
  • Current university graduate unemployment has reached 12, 5 % (Q 3 (Stats SA, 2021)
  • It is common cause that many young people lack the skills and work experience required to find a job to participate in the economy

  • To provide temporary employment opportunities for young graduates from universities who have not been able to find employment. 
  • To support core administration and operations of universities where additional support is required temporarily, as identified by individual institutions.
  • To support workplace experience for unemployed graduates that could assist them in gaining work-readiness skills that could lead to them gaining longer-term employment opportunities. 
  • Due to the limited number of jobs available in the economy and a lack of workplace experience, university graduates cannot always seek immediate, relevant work opportunities once they have completed their studies. This programme will offer opportunities for graduates to gain practical university-based experience in a range of areas that can improve their readiness for employment and open up career pathways that may not have been available without work experience. 
  • Not all graduates can access work experience during their studies due to the challenges of meeting academic requirements and a lack of temporary work opportunities for students in some areas. In addition, formal work-integrated learning placements are not always available to students and make it difficult for them to source formal employment post-graduation.


  1. South African;
  2. Unemployed Youth of ages between 18 and 35;
  3. Graduate (UG or PG) from the university being placed at;
  4. Preference should be given to disabled learners where possible;
  5. Equitable Gender representation; and
  6. Population group demographic representation.

Further communication on this project will be provided after the meeting scheduled by USAf on 17 January 2022.

Keep well and stay safe.

Warmest regards,

Meko Ernest Magida
Acting Rector and Vice-Chancellor
University of the Western Cape