The WESSA Groen Sebenza project aims to build the capacity required to address the environmental issues and opportunities in South Africa through job creation on a sustainable basis, with a particular focus on professional development, resource management and entrepreneurial skills. Work based internships of 171 youth will develop both their understanding of the importance of building a green economy and more importantly develop their capacity to engage effectively in the professional environment of the green economy. The objectives of the Groen Sebenza project are to create jobs in the environmental sector and to ensure that the training capacity that will be needed to grow this sector has to some extent been addressed as the demand for work experience and environmental skills increases. In order to achieve these broad objectives this project has two key and interlined components. The first component builds on WESSA’s experience in implementing work integrated learning and meaningful work experience within the natural resource guardianship landscape, and the second builds on WESSA’s experience as an accredited training provider in the environmental sector.
It is well recognised that in order for the green economy to grow we are going to need environmentally skilled people at many different levels. This in turn will require a substantial increase in environmental training to equip potential new entrants into this growing field. For the past 10 years WESSA has worked with the Department of Environment Forestry and Fisheries to build the basis for the provision of quality training in this field. Graduates from these programmes are now available to support the implementation of a range of environmental accredited and non- accredited courses. Both the Environmental Sector Skills Plan (ESSP) and a recent local government needs assessment point to the need for people skilled in Resource Guardianship, biodiversity conservation, alien species control and water quality management.