The Kruger to Canyon Biosphere Centre hosted a think tank meeting to explore the opportunity of developing a youth work experience facility in partnership with businesses operating in the local wildlife economy.
The Tourism Conservation Fund, led by CEO Paul Zille, has teamed up with Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator. Harambee is an NPO committed to pathwaying young unemployed South Africans into their first work opportunity. The meeting invited key local players from the wildlife economy to understand the supply and demand dynamics that underpin this potential employment market.
It was a mixed-race room of more than 30 attendees, where agencies, businesses, and employers converged to talk about issues contributing to high rates of unemployment, and the lack of young people from local communities in tourism and conservation.
Harambee and The Tourism Conservation Fund explained there are six key factors affecting young people’s employability: “socio-demographics, financial competencies, behaviours for work, socialisation for work, interest in opportunity, occupational specific requirements”.
Zille explained that “part of the solution is by linking youth into the wildlife economy through work experience”, and the TCF plans to sponsor one-year placements if suitable students can be matched with appropriate employees. Harambee advised that if a student can survive for a year in a workplace, there is a high chance that they will be forever employed, thus they offer one-year internships with monthly stipends.
It is hoped that this programme will lead to more young previously disadvantaged people participating in conservation and tourism businesses and even young entrepreneurs starting up related businesses in local communities.
Published by: Kruger2Canyon | Photo credit: Wild Shots Outreach and student photographer, Wisani Ngwenya