CapeNature tackles youth unemployment through educational YES Programme

by CapeNature

CapeNature and the Department of Environmental Affairs celebrated its successful first year of the Youth Environmental Services (YES) Programme. The initiative saw 110 youth participants graduating.

Fellow YES Programme participants from Region East holding their certificates.

Together both entities aim to address the ever-growing challenges of youth unemployment and prioritise local communities living in and adjacent to the nature reserves across the Western Cape. The funding of the programme by the Department of Environmental Affairs will empower 272 youths over 2 years from communities in dire need.

The YES Programme objectives include that of skills development through acquiring 120 credits from the scarce skills courses identified, local economic development for services and procurement related to the programme and community service interventions.

YES Programme participant, Siphiwokazi Ngogela, who received a Assistance Chef and New Venture creation certificate.

CapeNature CEO Dr Razeena Omar, who is a strong advocate for education, highlighted the educational aspect of the programme by reciting the late former South African President, Nelson Mandela’s quote Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world”.

Dr Razeena Omar, who is a passionate advocate of the value of education, gave YES participants a motivational speech and thanked them for their tremendous work.

Omar thanked graduates for completing their respective courses, and urged them to each carry the torch further.

Along with successful partnerships with the Wildlife and Environment of South Africa (WESSA), Benchmark, Nedbank and Old Mutual, the graduates have been catapulted in positions within the environment and the tourism sector, construction and hospitality industries.

It was all smiles at the certificate ceremony where the Youth Environmental Services Programme participants were celebrated for their tremendous work over the year.

Gender equality in the workplace remains one of the top priorities for CapeNature.
Dr Omar adds: “This particular programme affirms our commitment to promote the education of women, in that 64 out of the 110 graduates are women.”

The programme which is run by the People and Conservation component of CapeNature includes skills development in Natural Resource Guardianship, Community House Building, Tourism Guiding and New Venture Creation and Assistant Chef training.

People and Conservation General Manager, Melikhaya Pantsi, with participant Teegan Petrus who shared her courageous story of beating depression and the tremendous help she received from the Programme. Teegan also noted that she is going back to school to further her studies.

CapeNature’s People and Conservation General Manager, Melikhaya Pantsi says the programme has unlocked the doors; the youth needs to open these doors.

Central Region participants with Wildlife and Environment of South Africa (WESSA) official in jubilant spirits.

“CapeNature cares about communities and this programme has given us an opportunity to place practice into communities where the youth participants come from. Our component believes very strongly in youth development as part of the conservation work we do. The young people in the programme were exposed to career exhibitions by different institutions of higher learning, experiential learning at different places of work.”

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