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WWF leads the way in green careers

WWF South Africa’s Environmental Leaders Graduate Internship Programme has taken in its seventh cohort of 50 graduates.

WWF South Africa's award-winning Environmental Leaders Graduate Internship Programme  has been helping young graduates transition into the workplace for a decade, starting with the placement of six interns in 2011.

Graduates are offered a 12-month, work-based learning internship placement connecting them with green work opportunities, potential employers and communities of practice that support their ongoing career development and increase their employability. This year’s intake benefits from placements with 14 partners and 8 WWF internal programmes.

The 50 new interns join an expanding community of 178 young, innovative professionals who have been supported through the WWF Internship Programme and are committed to working for people and the environment towards a secure socio-ecological future.

The new cohort, , all of whom have their eyes set on exciting careers in the environmental sector, started work on 1 April and were selected from 1079 applications from across universities in South Africa through a rigorous recruitment process. 

Dr Glenda Raven, Senior Manager; Environmental Leaders Programme, commented: “The applications we have received once again reflects the high quality of university graduates emerging from our institutions of higher learning and who are keen to work in the environmental sector for the benefit of people and nature.”

This year’s applications included doctoral, masters, honours, bachelors and national diploma graduates – an indication of the need for more work-based learning opportunities in this sector.

These  interns come with diverse academic backgrounds from the more traditional natural sciences to resource economics and anthropology, and many more interesting learning pathways.

In addition to the partners who regularly place interns, an exciting new opportunity that has opened up is with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and fishing companies Seavuna, Sea Harvest, I & J and Oceana. They are now part of a partnership programme to strengthen environmental and sustainability skills specifically in the fishing industry. 

The interns will also attend training workshops to help them build professional networks, facilitate career planning, learn about the broad spectrum of green career possibilities and explore some key workplace skills.  

The 2019 internships by numbers

  • 1079 applicants

  • 50 interns

  • 36 women 

  • 41  black South Africans and also 2 from SADC  which is a first

  • 16 South African universities

  • 2 universities abroad

  • 9 new partners

  • 44 + 9 more this year = 53 partners in total

  • 38 new mentors

New graduate intern members of the Panda family, from left to right, are Andiswa Nyongwana (Business Development Unit), Farai Chireshe (Policy and Futures Unit), Delsy Sifundza (Marine Programme), Zaynab Sadan (Policy and Futures Unit), Ariel Prinsloo (Environmental Leaders Programme), Lethabo Pholoto (Environmental Leaders Programme).

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