Around 300 youth aged 18-35 in the Gauteng townships of Eersterust and Mamelodi are undergoing waste management training in a move aimed at creating greater awareness and employment opportunities in the recycling sector.
Apart from helping to create a more sustainable environment, the training from Green Deeds Recycling – which has been done in conjunction with the National Youth Development Outreach (NYDO) and adult and training experts Media Works – is equipping these youth with the skills and knowledge to start their own recycling and waste management businesses. The training is also helping to educate them about the importance of tackling issues such as illegal dumping.
There’s been growing awareness around environmental sustainability, especially with landfills in Gauteng becoming full, forcing cities such as Johannesburg and Tshwane to focus more on recycling.
As a result, this initiative aims to help young adults realise that they can start a sustainable business in this space with no upfront costs. It can also create real job opportunities at a time when unemployment is rising amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Training and capacity building
In this first-of-its-kind of training, the participants are undergoing a new curriculum that has been put together by adult education and training specialists Media Works.
Topics covered include recycling trading and business management skills, an introduction to financial services, as well as dealing with issues of basic personal planning and budgeting. Participants also undergo training in topics such as First Aid, Health and Safety, and Environmental Awareness.
Media Works has over 24 years of experience in the adult education and training space, and this partnership has illustrated its flexibility in the current climate.
Amid the current COVID-19 regulations, the training has further aligned itself with the lockdown requirements and enforced strict social distancing and regular sanitising to keep all participants safe. Further measures have included taking the temperatures of all attendees, as well as documenting and capturing health questions.
The participants are also divided into 15 groups of 20 facilitated by Media Works trainers. The group of 300 were selected by NYDO, a well-established local NGO whose mandate it is to look for sustainable solutions for the youth.
Louis Nel, the National QA and Implementation Manager at Media Works, says:
“In South Africa, there’s been a renewed focus on adult training and skills development as a means to help tackle the country’s unemployment challenges. Learning can take place at any age and there are a multitude of fields that adults can upskill themselves for. As Media Works, we’ve been excited about helping provide the facilitator guides and training for this particular programme and we’re looking forward to seeing it progress further.”
Célest van Niekerk, of Green Deeds Recycling, says:
“Waste management is in its infancy in South Africa and as communities, we can always do more for our environment. Even President Cyril Ramaphosa last year announced the launch of the Good Green Deeds campaign, which aims to make recycling a household habit. We need to train, educate and make everybody aware why this is critical. But importantly, there are job opportunities in this space that can’t go unnoticed.”
This opportunity was made possible by the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) which has provided funding for this programme.