• Staff writer


The latest unemployment figures in South Africa are cause for concern, as are the growing numbers of graduates who are unable to find jobs in their chosen fields. Some of the main fields suffering from a scarcity in skills are science, engineering, technology and business management.

Janavi da Silva, Director of Programmes for GreenMatter, says that many students continue to pursue qualifications that don’t offer great employment prospects, and this has a lot to do with a lack of access to information and opportunity, as well as the need to encourage interest in a wider variety of fields.

South Africa’s biodiversity is one of the main sectors suffering from a severe skills shortage, yet there is a huge need to protect the country’s natural heritage. Nurturing the best minds to safeguard the future of the green economy is an important investment, which is why fellowships are so vital in this field.

Academic fellowships incentivise graduates to pursue further study and contribute value to a particular field. This is often achieved through funding for post graduate studies, offering mentorship from experienced professionals and access to training and development programmes designed to help students build sustainable careers.

Jade Moody, who completed the GreenMatter Fellowship programme earlier this year, says she started out studying hydrology but as a result of the support and guidance she received through the Fellowship, she is interning at an environmental company and taking a broader environmental approach to her Masters degree. It was through GreenMatter that she was given the internship opportunity in the first place.

The programmes are intended to equip people with important soft skills to help them understand and succeed in the biodiversity, environmental and water sectors, while building sustainable careers for themselves. Fellowships such as these upskill individuals in all respects; this is seen as an investment in South African youth as well as in the green economy.


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