WESSA Annual Review 2022

WESSA GROEN SEBENZA The Groen Sebenza Programme is a “bridging into work programme” that creates a nexus in the Environment Sector between National Government, Environment and Conservation organisations, experienced professionals (mentors) and young graduates (mentees) that are seeking a career pathway within the Green Economy. T

WESSA has been involved with the Groen Sebenza Programme since its inception in 2013, hosting almost 90 young graduates on a work integrated training and mentored experience for a 2.5-year period. In 2019, WESSA partnered with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and Environment (DFFE) on a 3-year contract for the management of a national Natural Resource Management (NRM) Training programme. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns exacerbated rising youth unemployment causing Government to increase budget allocation towards interventions that create job opportunities for Youth. Consequently, the WESSA Groen Sebenza Project was dramatically expanded in scope creating placements for an additional 171 conservation and environment graduate interns who were inducted and deployed to 18 diverse host organisations across all 9 provinces in October 2021.

89% of exits were into formal employment in the environmental sector (contract and permanent) and 11% to further study. WESSA itself hosted 54 interns who have injected youthful energy and boosted capacity in all Units. A WESSA Groen Sebenza skills course consists of six modules and is aimed at developing skills with an emphasis on understanding the green economy, landscape, and natural resource management, business skills, and professional development. It is not enough to just build professional and technical skills but also critical thinking and problem-solving skills so that participating graduates, some of whom will become leaders and managers in the sector, have what it takes to affect real change throughout their careers. WESSA will miss the Groenies when the internship concludes, however, all Groenies will remain part of the WESSA family with the imminent launch of the WESSA Alumni Network.

To date, a total of 195 participants have been enrolled with 45 successful exits into employment or further studies.

The ‘veteran’ Groenies that joined WESSA in 2019 graduate in March 2022 at a Graduation event in St Lucia, Kwa Zulu Natal

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