Department of Environmental Affairs empowers young South Africans through the Youth Environmental Services programme

26 March 2018


The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has made a staggering R180 million investment to empower young South Africans through the Youth Environmental Service (YES) programme over a period of two years.

At least 2340 young people will participate on the second phase of the YES programme, which is implemented through the DEA’s Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme (EPIP) across the country. The YES programme is aimed at exposing unemployed and disadvantaged youths aged between of 18 and 35 years to work-integrated learning opportunities in the natural resource and environmental management sectors.

The Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Barbara Thomson says the YES programme is not only an initiative that will empower and lure the youths into environment related career, but a programme that also cultivates community involvement in environmental protection.

“It is one of our initiatives through which we contribute towards building a just society that lives in harmony with its environment. While YES is not a special employment or a training programme, it is anchored on the National Youth Service as a service and skills development initiative wherein participating youths receive an allowance. It is based on the premise that we all need to work for the environment in order to have the environment work for us and the future generations,” says Deputy Minister Thomson.

The YES programme takes form of learnerships, thereby serving as a launch pad for the participants’ career in the environmental management sector. During their participation in the YES programme, the youths will engage in various activities such as environmental education; waste management; recycling and food garden projects. They will also receive accredited training in areas such as armed field ranger, tourism guiding, hospitality, and business management.

The participants are placed in different host institutions including municipalities, public and private business, conservation entities and non-governmental organisations to provide environmental services and community work as part of self-development.

On the other hand, the community service component requires each participant to serve at least two days per month on community service related activities within an environmental sector in their local community. The community service is set to amongst others capacitate schools, old age homes, animal shelters, urban parks and youth clubs.

The YES is one of the 14 sub-programmes implemented under the auspices of the Expanded Public Works Programmes (EPWP) through the Department of Environmental Affairs contributing to improvement of socio-economic needs of South Africans in the environmental sector.

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