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On Thursday, 27 June 2019, the City of Cape Town hosted a certificate handover ceremony for 28 beneficiaries of the City’s Kader Asmal Skills Development Programme to recognise their participation and dedication during the first year of the programme. The wife, Louise and son, Adam of the late Professor Kader Asmal were also in attendance. The City has invested a total of R3,48 million in the programme to equip students and workers with the skills and knowledge required for work opportunities within the Environmental Management sector. Read more below:

The City launched the Kader Asmal Skills Development Programme last year and has since then achieved encouraging results. The programme provides thorough in-field experience for various graduates and workers who eagerly seek a career within the Environmental Management sector. The training spans over a period of three years where participants work within the Invasive Species Unit in the City’s Biodiversity Management branch. Here they gain a sound understanding of wetland rehabilitation and invasive species management.

‘We are well aware that graduates and workers mostly struggle to gain in-field experience within the environmental management sphere. We aim to bridge this gap by identifying roles which are most in demand within this field and tailoring a programme which equips beneficiaries with the required skills. Our main objective is to provide an opportunity for these participants to gain two to three years’ of practical experience, which is the minimum requirement for most entry-level positions within the industry,’ said the City’s Acting Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Grant Twigg.

The City’s Biodiversity Management Department saw an opportunity to link a comprehensive skills development programme to the broader Kader Asmal Integrated Catchment Management Programme, an Expanded Public Works Programme model which has been assisting the Invasive Species Unit with capacity and to remove invasive species since 2012.

This programme focuses on developing candidates as follows:

· within the middle management level as Assistant Conservation Officers

· in the technical field as Quality Controllers;

· and in administrative support as Administrative Officers.

These designations are currently most in demand within the sector and require management; communication; customer care and leadership skills.

Over the past year, the Auxiliary Conservation Officers within the programme focused on emotional intelligence training and leadership skills, whereas the Auxiliary Quality Controller incumbents acquired knowledge in identification and mapping techniques of different plants and animal species. The Auxiliary Administrative Officers in the programme were also exposed to key principles of support management.

‘This programme allows us to promote training, skills development and employment, while also improving Cape Town’s unique natural environment. I encourage these participants to make use of this opportunity to the best of their ability, and to network and gain experience that will open many doors in the future,’ said Alderman Twigg.

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