The Johannesburg Zoo provides opportunities for unemployed youth

The Johannesburg Zoo has been its bit to encounter the youth unemployment crises within the country. The zoo has many programs such as internships, the Employment Public Work Project, tour guide induction training and volunteer programs. These programs will assist students and unemployed youth to gain practical work experience and help them become more favourable to companies and recruitment agencies.

The internship program which is funded by LG SETA, allows students and unemployed graduates to work in various departments within the zoo for 9 months. The graduates and students are placed in departments such as: Marketing, HR, Animal husbandry, Veterinary care, Maintenance, Nutrition and Environment, Finance and Horticulture. The zoo also employs youth on a 6 month contract through the Employment Public Work Project. This project enables the youth to help with general zoo work. Casual workers are also used within the zoo and are called to assist in various departments for certain periods of time.

Through the zoo’s tour guide induction training, youth are given an opportunity to learn about being a tour guide in general and within the zoo. This 5 day bi-annual course is perfect for individuals who love nature, have a passion for tourism, have a valid driver’s license, driving experience and competent in the English language. Once the course is successfully completed, the zoo employs them on a part time basis to carry out tours within the zoo.

The zoo encourages people to volunteer their time to a specific department when the need arises. Students who volunteer can work in an environment where they can use their theoretical knowledge of subjects in a practical manner. Once the students have completed their studies, they will be up skilled in their chosen careers.

These programs allow the youth to be fully integrated into the zoo. They are be given specific tasks related to their chosen fields and their performance will be monitored by their line managers. Every effort is made to up skilling the youth and they experience all the challenges associated to the work environment. Not only they learn about the practical skills required to work but also the pressure, team work, and social etiquette required in a work environment.

Since 2010 the zoo has employed 45 students through an internship, youths through the Employment Public Work Project, various casual workers and tour guides.

Prepared Razina Pandor and issued by Letta Madlala Brand and Communications Manager on behalf of the Johannesburg Zoo.

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