The Youth Employment Service Initiative (Y.E.S), gazetted on 28 August 2018, sets out to provide employment opportunities to previously disadvantaged, unemployed youth between the ages of 18 and 35. Seen as a critical initiative to address unemployment amongst South African youth, President Cyril Ramaphosa launched Y.E.S on 27 March 2018 in an effort to help build a more inclusive, sustainable economy.
Sustainable water and wastewater solutions expert, Talbot & Talbot (Pty) Ltd (Talbot & Talbot) committed to employing 10 Y.E.S candidates to conservation initiatives within the Manyoni Game Reserve (Pty) Ltd (Manyoni), situated in the heart of Zululand. Talbot & Talbot and Manyoni view this partnership as a long-term relationship to support conservation and ultimately sustainability within the Manyoni Game Reserve. “We support this initiative 100% as conservation is at the core of Manyoni’s mandate. We have a strong focus on conserving biodiversity, which includes the landscapes, ecosystems and processes upon which this biodiversity depends. Combining conservation efforts in Zululand with the goals of Y.E.S is a huge win-win for us ”, says Director of Manyoni, Murray Collins.
The 10 candidates were recruited by Manyoni and employed on a one-year full time employment contract by Talbot & Talbot, which commenced in December 2018. The initiative supports both parties’ ultimate goal of ecological improvement and water conservation in the region.
Training and upskilling are key elements of the initiative and specific to the required duties of the Y.E.S candidates. Training includes:
- Key elements of conservation (the value of conservation to communities, impact of poaching etc)
- Alien species identification
- Responsible use of herbicides
- Key principles of erosion control & associated methods
Key projects that the Y.E.S candidates have been working on include alien vegetation and erosion control. These nature-based solutions can provide innovative and cost-effective options for supplementing insufficient or ageing water infrastructure. Already the team has been instrumental in the implementation of erosion control measures within the reserve as well as eradication of over 100 hectare of alien vegetation in the riparian zone along the Mhlatuze River which flows through the reserves contributing directly to water management and conservation in the catchment.
According to Carl Haycock, CEO of Talbot & Talbot: “At Talbot & Talbot we have always placed emphasis on employing and upskilling people from all walks of life. We have experienced firsthand how individuals who have not previously had opportunities, if given a chance, can contribute positively to the business and the economy at large. In South Africa it is imperative that we give as many people as possible a chance to be employed, gain experience in the economy and to grow and develop as a result. The conservation projects at Manyoni are closely aligned to the principles of our business and ultimately contribute to both ecological improvement and water conservation.”