Environmental Leaders | WWF South Africa

	© Natasha Prince/WWF-SA

Environmental Leaders

Aligned to our national priorities of socio-economic development and environmental well-being, WWF South Africa contributes to developing our country’s present and future environmental leaders.
To support South Africa’s transition to a green economy, WWF actively promotes the development of green skills through a body of work under its Environmental Leaders Programme.

Investing in people who want to make a positive contribution to the environment both strengthens the sector itself and contributes to the human well-being of all.
WWF’s Environmental Leaders’ work ranges from internships to mentors’ training, post-graduate research fellowships to mid-level career development scholarships.
The main reason for investing in these green skills development initiatives is to enable long-term good governance of the environment, and to ultimately embed green skills  into the national system of skills planning and development.
The programme works at three levels:
  • Skills development: To provide structured opportunities for green career development for new entrants into the environment sector.
  • Sector strengthening: To contribute to the environment sector by improving skills planning and development in organisations, including building a culture of mentoring, as well as offering career-enhancing opportunities for professionals already in this sector.
  • Systems development: Working with the Department of Higher Education and Training, and relevant SETAs, to integrate green skills planning and development into systems-wide processes to build a robust green skills network that powers our green economy.

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WWF interns take time to reflect while working in the field.
The Environmental Leaders Programme is structured around four key areas of work to support new and current leaders for the environment:

The Graduate Development Programme supports university students and graduates to bridge the gap between academia and the world of work, through internship placements, supporting work integrated learning and university based career guidance.

Skills Development is focused on the key production sectors of agriculture, fisheries, forestry, mining and water to support sustainable natural resource use and management.

Leadership Development is addressed through the offering of the One Planet Leaders Programme in Africa, in partnership with the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, to enable a collective conversation between government, business, industry and civil society to lead change through sustainability innovations.

Organisational Development supports human resource planning and skills development to strengthen the work environments in which leaders learn and grow. 


The Environmental Leaders Programme recognises that the complex task of equally fostering social, ecological and economic integrity requires collaboration across various organizations, sectors and stakeholder groups. The programme works in association with a number of environment and other organisations, both locally, regionally and globally to offer skills, professional and leadership development initiatives for new entrants and current professionals for the environment.

  • South Africa has ground-breaking environmental policies, but implementation is hampered by limited human resources... read more on Human Development Capital.