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WWF bids farewell to the 2021 cohort of interns

The expression “growing our own timber” speaks aptly to WWF South Africa’s Environmental Leaders Graduate Internship Programme.

WWF’s graduate internships provide a practical and paid bridging experience for new graduates to gain valuable work experience and training, and to connect into professional networks to establish their careers for the environment.
Every two years, WWF recruits a new cohort of Masters and Honours graduates into a structured and mentored 12-month internship programme. In addressing skills in high demand, internships range from traditional green occupations, like park ranger and ecologist, to emerging areas of specialisation such as the environmental economists, environmental engineers and architects designing green buildings.
The 2021 cohort of interns, who are now moving on, were selected from among 1 584 applications across all universities in South Africa, bringing with them skills ranging from sustainable agriculture to climate science to taxonomy. Mirroring the post-graduate enrolment gender trends at universities, 69% of these interns were women and 88% of them were black South Africans.
Among the many partner organisations to host the WWF interns were parastatal and provincial conservation agencies, university-based institutions, private companies and a number of NGOs.
The programme enjoys the long-standing support of organisations like South African National Parks, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, Sustainable Energy Africa, The Spar Group Limited and the IUCN’s TRAFFIC, amongst other host employers. For a number of years, the programme has also been supported through funding from the WWF Nedbank Green Trust (since 2013) and Barloworld.
Said Dr Glenda Raven, Organisational Performance Lead, WWF South Africa: “The support of these funders, our host employers and mentors add significant value to this programme and enables us to achieve the 91% success in these interns transitioning into the workplace where their skills are most effectively deployed and further study in areas of contemporary research.”
The good news is that for many interns this was indeed the first step towards a successful career in the environmental sector, with three already in full-time employment and one being awarded a scholarship at Oxford University during the course of his internship.
Dr Raven added: “We wish the rest of our interns well as they explore the job market, confident that they will soon transition into formal employment. Our trend analysis amongst previous cohorts shows that 84% of interns find work within three months of concluding the internship and a further 16% within six months.”
The next intake of interns will be in 2023. Recruitment details will be advertised on the WWF website in August 2022.

WWF bids farewell to the interns who were selected for the Environmental Leaders Graduate Internship Programme in 2021.

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