City gives EPWP workers a ‘green’ shot in the arm

07 Mar 2019 in Where We Govern

The City of Cape Town has given 30 workers in the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) an opportunity to learn about all things ‘green.’ The participants have been part of the Kader Asmal skills development training programme in the green economy.

The Kader Asmal Skills Development Programme has been operating since 2012 and, in 2018, the City expanded it to a three-year programme.

Last week, Alderman Grant Twigg, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Management, conducted an oversight visit to the environmental and culture sector that forms part of the EPWP Skills Programme. The Urban Management Committee Chairperson, Councillor Willie Jaftha, accompanied Alderman Twigg on the site visit to experience what the EPWP skills training in the green economy is all about, and to see first-hand how the City’s investment is benefitting individuals.

‘There exists quite a large skills gap within the environmental segment and our support is critical for effective service delivery in the public sector. Our objective is to equip individuals with the knowledge, skills and ability for sustainable opportunities specifically in the green economy,’ said Alderman Twigg.

In turn, this skills development programme holds various benefits for the City, which include building an opportunity city by improving environmental practices through skilled staff in the sector.

The programme also gives candidates the opportunity to gain field experience with different stakeholders. This helps to arm them with hands-on experience in the different spheres of government as well as the private sector.

The programme has a two-pronged objective: it strives to promote training, skills development and employment in the environmental sector while simultaneously improving the City’s unique natural environment through various green economic activities.

‘It is also well-aligned with the City’s Integrated Development Plan objectives to contribute towards economic inclusion. This is achieved by maximizing EPWP opportunities to develop skills and practical work experience; ensure economic growth through the development of SMMEs in the environmental sector; and improve management of invasive species.

‘We committed to building an inclusive city by unlocking and providing access to economic opportunities, especially for disadvantaged communities who have been marginalised. This skills development programme gives them the opportunity to be integrated into the City’s green economy,’ said Alderman Twigg.

This skills development programme will focus on developing candidates within the middle management level as assistant conservation officers, quality controllers in the technical field, or administrative officers to provide administrative support in the environmental sector. This training spans over a period of three years.

Suitable individuals were recruited from the Kader Asmal Integrated Inter-Departmental Catchment Management Programme’s database. In addition, candidates from partner organisations were also included in the recruitment process.

‘We have noticed an increased number of youths with university qualifications who are applying for EPWP jobs over the years. The lack of employment opportunities for young people has impacted negatively on levels of education, skills, and work experience. Being in a professional work environment exposes young people to networks which may afford them work opportunities in the near future. The development programme aims to address the skills and experience shortage within the environmental sector.

‘The City funds a number of institutions that provide a basket of skills development programmes. Young people are urged to find out about what’s available and consider pursuing alternate skill sets as opposed to only thinking about a degree or diploma,’ added Alderman Twigg.