In the wake of ‘fees must fall’ protests on campuses around the country, SAFM’s Enviro Show host Nancy Richards spoke to us about access for young people to green skills and green jobs. Follow this link to hear Dr Najma Mohamed of the Development Bank of Southern Africa and Prof Heila Lotz-Sisitka of Rhodes University on these topics.

In August, Wits REAL and the Green Skills team hosted a meeting for SETAs and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), to discuss proposed GreenSkills activities with these important stakeholders in green skills planning and development. The meeting was attended by 23 participants in total from DHET’s Skills Planning Unit, the National Skills Fund, the International Labour Organisation’s national office and 11 SETAs: BANK SETA; MICT, CATHSSETA, PSETA, CHIETA, MERSETA, F&PM, H&W, INSETA, MQA  and the ETDP SETA. The interest in skills for greening South Africa’s economy was considerable, although several SETA representatives noted that they had not yet included it in their planning.

In early October the Green Skills team and the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI) hosted a training workshop for project researchers in Cape Town. Prof Andre Kraak of Wits and Prof Johann Maree of UCT shared their experience in conducting workplace-based research with the project leads and emerging researchers. The purpose was to build understanding of the sectoral economy; how demand conditions within sectors are framed and how to undertake occupational studies inside institutions.  The outcome is a set of tools for demand side analysis, which will soon be shared on this site.

SAERA, the South African Education Research Association, represents a variety of education research groups and interests in South Africa. This year saw the first presentations on green skills research at SAERA’s annual conference, which took place in October on the campus of the Free State University. Dr Eureta Rosenberg and Presha Ramsarup presented a paper on Green Skills as a New Knowledge Field and convened a panel discussion on Transformative Research Approaches to study green skills supply, transitioning and demand, with Sibusisiwe Mumsie Gumede. While not many of the delegates had experience in this field, there was some interest in these sessions and support for the establishment of a Special Interest Group (SIG) on environmental education, training and work. The development of the proposal to SAERA to establish this SIG is led by Dr Ingrid Schudel of the Rhodes University Environmental Learning Research Centre (ELRC).

Look out for the Green Skills Young Researchers Forum early in 2016! This will be hosted by Rhodes University with support from CATHSSETA, who have funded a green skills research programme for the biodiversity sector.  We will carry further news on this on the website and E-Newsletters. If you would like to receive the E-Newsletter, please sign up at the bottom of the page.