The environment, as well as the employment of young people, women and people living with disabilities, got a boost from the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Youth Environmental Services (YES) programme implemented in Gauteng by the Delta Environmental Centre, with 120 recruits graduating on 5 November. Five of them have already been employed by private companies and four are enrolled to study further.
Seventy of the best performers for the first year were given an opportunity to apply and were accepted to complete the second year of the diploma qualification funded by RMB Bank, while one recruit started a small business.
The Youth Environmental Service Programme (YES) is one of the focus areas of the Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programmes. It is planned and implemented using labour intensive methods in line with the requirements of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) to ensure job creation, as well as small business and skills development.
“The recruits were involved in various community services, such as environmental surveys, sorting waste at the source, door to door educational campaigns, tree planting, school cleaning, environmental education in schools, painting community murals and the celebration of arbour month, world environmental day and Mandela day,” says Malusi Vatsha, Chief Executive Officer at Delta Environmental Centre.
The programme has recruited 134 young people, 92 women and 6 people living with disabilities. They have been exposed to personal development, accredited training and exit opportunities, while delivering environmental services that benefited communities.
The skills programmes are accredited by the Education, Training and Development Practices (ETDP) SETA and focuses on recycling and entrepreneurship. Recruits completed five modules in environmental issues, namely risks and responses, action to address an environmental issue, environmental education as a community awareness tool, development of an original environmental learning programme and workplace evidence collection. The theme was sustainable waste management initiatives, Vatsha explains.
During their second year, the graduates will complete the following modules in facilitating environmental learning programmes, evaluating learning programmes, designing and developing environmental learning and teaching support materials and conducting an outcomes-based assessment in an environmental context.
The programme also included soft skills and non-accredited training interventions such as career guidance, CV writing, open space greening, presentation skills and motivational talks to enable them to find other employment opportunities.
“Small business enterprises provided services such as transportation, protective clothing, catering, working tools, planting of indigenous trees, training facilitators, research, pre-medicals testing, moderation, verification, photography, mural painting, branding and marketing materials,” Vatsha says.
A total of 124 recruits were based in the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, where they worked in Daveyton, Wadeville, Slovo Park, Etwatwa, KwaThema and Tsakane and the remaining ten at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).
The programme is fully funded by the Department of Environmental Affairs and it was also supported by the Ford Wildlife foundation which donated a 4X4 Ford Ranger that is used for travel to communities where project activities, such as tree planting, education and awareness and waste sorting are implemented as part of community service activities.
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