One hundred and thirty-three Northern Cape youths have kick-started their environmental careers after recently being inducted into the Youth Environmental Services (YES) Northern Cape Programme.
The learnership, which is funded by the Department of Environmental Affairs, aims to expose unemployed and disadvantaged youth between the ages of 18 and 35 to mentored, work-integrated learning opportunities in the environmental and ecotourism sectors.
Additional components of this programme are the provision of accredited Environmental Practices Skills courses, training in life skills and participation in community service.
According to WESSA the two days per month of community service, which each participant will be delivering within an environmental sector in their local community, are a key component of the programme.
Developing professional skills
The work experience and training received by youth participating in the one-year programme will cover both practical and theoretical aspects, and will expose the youth to hands-on examples of sustainable living.
Nicholaas Sigamu, a WESSA Programme Coordinator based in Keimoes, says: “The YES Programme will give the youth much to learn about in protecting their local environments, and will develop their professional skills and abilities to be able to do so.”
The youth on the YES Northern Cape Programme live in Kimberley, Barkly West, Warrenton, De Aar and the area between Keimoes and Augrabies, and most of them are being hosted by the Dikgatlong, Emthanjeni, Kai! Garib and Magareng municipalities, where they will participate in various activities, such as environmental education, waste monitoring, urban rejuvenation, recycling and food garden projects. Others will be hosted at various environmental NGOs and at game reserves.