Green Jobs Build Brighter Futures
CapeNature’s People and Conservation Programme is making a visible mark on the national job creation drive through its vibrant FTE (Full Time Equivalent) programme, aligned to the Expanded Public Works Programme.
CapeNature is driven by the vision to establish biodiversity conservation as the foundation of a sustainable economy in the Western Cape. This is in line with our philosophy which is about transforming biodiversity conservation into a key component of local economic development in the province.
The FTE programme is a new approach of job creation focused on skilling and building young professionals, while assisting in achieving national government’s job creation targets.
Funding from Treasury last year enabled CapeNature to employ 139 unemployed individuals from impoverished areas of the Western Cape.
Through the FTE programme, CapeNature provides the communities unique opportunities of environmental, economic and social development as this initiative enables the beneficiaries to take care of their families.
This year the number of FTEs doubled to 300 people, making a significant difference within CapeNature’s nature reserves as they assist the organisation in the completion of tasks planned for the year. Some of their tasks include construction of fire breaks, alien vegetation clearing, maintenance of hiking trails and other tourism facilities.
“For some, being part of the FTE opportunity meant leaving their families to stay in our remote nature reserves working in harsh conditions. As they shared their encounters with nature, it became very clear that in time they have developed love for conservation,” says Zolile Simawo, Local Economic Development Manager for the People and Conservation Programme.
They are stationed at several nature reserves throughout the Western Cape, stretching from urban areas such as Cape Metro, some rural communities on the West Coast, farming communities of the Boland, fishing towns of the Overberg, mountainous parts of Langeberg and the isolated parts of the Karoo and Garden Route.
Last year FTEs also underwent training on personal finance and other soft skills, enabling them to compete in the open labour market.
“Going forward, we have made inroads into lobbying for more funds and have secured mid-term contractual commitments to allow for much more sustainable training and monitoring of these individuals’ professional growth and stability. This will prepare them for better opportunities,” said Melikhaya Pantsi, Manager for CapeNature’s People and Conservation Programme.
Nature Conservation Changes Lives
“Being part of the Waterval Nature Reserve FTE team at CapeNature empowered me with the skills that I thought only men can do. I also have gained knowledge on the importance of animals and nature. This ‘outside classroom’ has opened my eyes to the whole new world of conservation – I am much wiser.
“This opportunity has also provided me with different types of skills and leadership courses since the period I have started working with them. I’ve done training such as Fire Breaks, Brush Cutting Operation, Basic Fire Fighting as well as Health and Safety.
“Thanks to CapeNature, I have better skills and a brighter future.” – Nontlahla Bede
“I’m working as a Conservation Assistant as part of the EPWP Programme on Bird Island in Lamberts Bay. I’m a single parent of two daughters and for more than 20 years I had to do menial work just to get by.
“This opportunity by Cape Nature is such a valuable experience and gives me the ability to broaden my horizons and my knowledge, leaving me with a positive attitude towards life. It enables me to provide for my children and their future. I would like to thank CapeNature and the EPWP for the opportunity to do my part for conservation.” – Coreen Coetzee
“It is such a huge opportunity to work in the Outeniqua – Garden Route Medicinal Plant Garden, the only medicinal garden in the Garden Route and one of nature’s best ‘outdoor classrooms’.
“Teacher brings learners here teach them about the wetlands, fynbos and different types of plants. I would love to do the same work I’m doing now in the near future. I truly enjoy the work I am doing and I am very thankful for this opportunity offered by CapeNature.” – Elvin Uithaler