Making ‘green graduates’ job-ready

A unique associate programme has been designed to address the growing challenge of graduate unemployment.

Gondwana Environmental Solutions, the Roodepoort-based provider of environmental monitoring, mitigation and management services, announced the rollout of the programme which was successfully piloted last year and enters phase two this coming October.

Gondwana associateships give young professionals the opportunity to obtain practical work and project experience in the field of environmental services.

Currently, many post-graduates are denied full-time employment or consultancy work because they lack a track record.

A Gondwana associateship is intended to remove that obstacle by providing industry-related training that may not have been covered in their studies, such as basic project management, proposal writing and budgeting. Associates also receive support from Gondwana and access to Gondwana resources.

Gondwana undertakes work for government agencies, parastatals and private-sector clients in a wide range of specialisations, including air quality monitoring and management, climate change assessments, water services, waste management and general environmental services.

Said managing director, Martin van Nierop: “Regulatory demands constantly increase the need for specialist intervention in the identification, management and mitigation of environmental impacts. At the same time, many corporates have discovered good environmental practice cuts costs, enhances efficiency, reduces business risk and boosts long-term profit.

“The result is growing demand for qualified, experienced environmental professionals.

“Perversely, employment and career development opportunities are restricted because potential clients are unwilling to hire an environmental specialist without a track record. Our programme circumvents this barrier and enables so-called ‘green graduates’ to gain the necessary experience.”

First associate to benefit from the programme is Nopasika Xulu. She entered the programme after obtaining a degree in Environmental Science from the University of the Witwatersrand. Said Xulu, “I am one of the many graduates who are faced with the challenge of unemployment, because we are classified as ”inexperienced’’. The biggest question is, where do we get such experience if we are not given a chance? Gondwana has given me a platform for gaining experience while being trained by experts in the field, they have also equipped me with skills and resources to be my own boss. I have learnt so much in a short space of time. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity”.

The programme is open to graduates in all environmental sciences.

An associateship not only improves employability, it can also assist entrepreneurially minded graduates who hope to become independent consultants.

Van Nierop explained: “A client looking for consultancy support may be reluctant to commission a standalone professional. Prospects are much improved, however, for a professional supported by an established environmental services provider with the resources and reputation of Gondwana.

“We also benefit as these associateships create a pool of talented young industry professionals to whom we can outsource work, knowing our associates have the knowledge and skills to deliver excellent service.”

First step for would-be associates is participation in an intensive two-day training programme at Gondwana. The course includes:

  • Proposal writing and tendering processes
  • Basic project management
  • Marketing fundamentals
  • Report writing
  • Budgeting and quoting, and
  • Project administration

On completion, candidates wishing to become Gondwana associates are assessed, and if suitable are accepted into the programme.

If you want to write your own career path to success then sign up for the next training course from 10-12 October. Visit to register or contact 011 472 3112