Say YES to create youth employment in South Africa!

Youth unemployment remains a critical issue in South Africa, but institutional support and individual resilience can have a profound impact on this challenge. Nedbank is one of the most significant contributors to the government’s Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative, dedicated to creating transformation and opportunity. The journey of Thabo Lekgwathi, from the steps of a Nedbank building to a thriving career within the same institution, serves as a beacon of hope in this challenging landscape.

South African youth unemployment is a national challenge

The conundrum of youth unemployment in South Africa is a pressing concern. Many young people find themselves caught in the paradox of needing work experience to get a job, but being unable to gain such experience due to a lack of job opportunities. It’s a vicious circle that leaves scores of young adults adrift in a sea of unemployment, despite their potential and eagerness to contribute to our economy.

Nedbank #Yes4Youth initiative tackling the crisis

Nedbank has spearheaded the #Yes4Youth initiative since 2019. As one of South Africa’s largest banking institutions, we have already facilitated the employment of more than 5,000 young people, and we will continue to provide work experience opportunities for South Africa’s youth.

The transformative journey of Thabo Lekgwathi

The inspiring story of Thabo Lekgwathi makes the potential impact of #Yes4Youth clear. Last year, while he was sitting nervously on the steps outside a Nedbank branch, anxiously waiting for an interview, he was spotted by passer-by Timothy Webster. His story of unemployment and dedication struck a chord with Webster, who shared it on social media, where it quickly gained traction.


His story offers an inspiring template for future #Yes4Youth inductees


The viral story caught the attention of Gloria Sithole, Head of Human Resources and Talent Development at Nedbank. Instead of limiting Lekgwathi to the call centre role he had applied for, Sithole recognised his passion and potential. Subsequently, he was offered an opportunity to join the #Yes4Youth intake and work in a Power Apps developer role, an area aligned with his interest in technology.

A year later, Lekgwathi's life has transformed dramatically. He has graduated from the programme he interviewed for and has been promoted to a technology specialist role, where he designs and builds internal apps at Nedbank and drives the adoption of the Microsoft Power Platform across the bank.

Microsoft Power Platform developer at Nedbank

After starting in June 2022, Lekgwathi spent the next year at Nedbank in Johannesburg, working diligently as a Microsoft Power Platform developer. His accomplishments over the past year, marked by continuous growth and contribution, are a testament to his dedication and capabilities.

During his tenure his responsibilities have included developing and maintaining applications using Microsoft Power Platform components. In this capacity he has had a significant role in creating new solutions and refining current ones, exhibiting a keen eye for detail and an unwavering commitment to quality.

In addition, as part of his administrative duties, Lekgwathi has been responsible for evaluating environments and product adoption to ensure adherence to best practices, aptly referred to as ‘guardrails’. This role has allowed him to engage in development to adopt new solutions, bolstering the quality and efficiency of Nedbank’s technical operations.

His job also extends to planning and configuring Microsoft Teams environments, a crucial aspect of the bank’s internal communications. By maintaining the effective operation of these environments, he has played an integral part in facilitating efficient communication and collaboration among the bank’s staff.

Another feather in Lekgwathi's cap has been his work with SharePoint. As part of his responsibilities, he has been tasked with creating and managing SharePoint site collections and designating collection administrators. This responsibility has further underscored his versatility and commitment to enhancing our technical infrastructure.

His role as a Microsoft Power Platform developer at Nedbank has been transformative for him and instrumental in driving the bank’s technological innovation. His journey embodies the opportunities that the #Yes4Youth initiative aims to provide.

Looking ahead: A beacon of hope

The success story of Thabo Lekgwathi serves as a much-needed reminder of the vast untapped potential within South Africa’s youth and the transformative power of opportunity and belief. As Nedbank continues to extend work experience opportunities to the youth, his story offers an inspiring template for future #Yes4Youth inductees.

‘To the 2023 #Yes4Youth inductees, this is evidence that challenges can be overcome and that there is always potential for greatness,’ he says.