Department of Environmental Affairs has Internships for Students in Pretoria and Cape Town

Environmental_Affairs_logoDEA’s Internships for Students in Pretoria and Cape Town

There is nothing more soul destroying than spending years at university studying hard, getting a degree, and then finding that you cannot get a job. It’s the usual Catch 22: Companies generally employ people with experience rather than those who are newly qualified. But if you are studying, or have a degree in fields related to environmental affairs, there is hope ahead. The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) is offering internships for graduates who will get paid a R4,500 monthly stipend, and immediately boost their experience over a one-year period of time.

Applications for the 2015 DEA’s internships for students close on December 12, 2014. So if you are an unemployed post graduate, or even under graduate, and you’ve never been employed in an internship programme before, why not give it a try?

About Internship Opportunities from the Department of Environmental Affairs

Internships for students, whose interests fit the fields that relate directly to the DEA, are offered opportunities to enter the internship programme for a one-year (12 month) period of time. Those candidates who are accepted into the programme are obliged to sign a contract, and they must work for the Department for 12 months.

These internship opportunities are in keeping with the vision of the Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority – the EtdpSETA which facilitates and promotes development and improvement with the education, training and development sector. However, as the DEA’s Environmental Sector Skills Plan for South Africa (published in 2010) points out, the environment sector itself does not have a dedicated SETA, instead, “environment needs to be integrated into all SETAs”.

All the current internship opportunities relate in some way to environmental issues, but there is a reasonably wide range of internships to choose from. They are all open to students and graduates aged between 18 and 35 years, and disabled people are encouraged to apply.

Each internship has its own particular requirement in terms of the qualification required, including specified subjects studied. A full list is available on the Department’s website.

Opportunities Available in Pretoria

There are eight openings in Pretoria, which is where the Department of Environment Affairs’ head office is located. In addition, three further positions are available in other parts of the country, via Pretoria:

1. Chemical and waste management
2. Biodiversity and conservation
3. Climate change and air quality
4. Chief operating office
5. Legal authorizations and compliance inspectorate Chief financial officer
6. Chief financial officer
7. Environmental advisory services
8. Environmental programme. While there is only one post available in Pretoria, there are an additional three posts on offer in Limpopo/Mpumalanga, the Western Cape, and the Free State.

All require a relevant three-year degree or national diploma. Specific subjects for the four environmental programme internships vary.

Opportunities Available in Cape Town

There are 12 openings in Cape Town, all linked to the Ocean & Coast and Environmental Programme:

2. Supply chain and asset management
3. Human resource management (HRM)
4. Financial management and management accounting
5. Coastal biodiversity conservation
6. Ocean and coastal conservation strategies
7. Oceans research
8. Biodiversity and coastal research
9. Marine biodiversity and coastal research
10. Coastal pollution management
11. Southern oceans and Antarctica support
12. Communication

All of these also require a relevant three-year degree or national diploma.

All applications for these internships must be submitted on the relevant Z83 form. A CV (curriculum vitae), certified copies of certificates received (eg matric and university), any relevant academic records, and of course an identification document, must be included with the application. Note that all applications must be posted to the relevant person in either Pretoria or Cape Town. Addresses and telephone numbers for further enquiries are available on the Department’s website. Applications must be received by 12th December this year, so if the Post Office is still on strike, you should considered using a courier service to ensure there won’t be unnecessary delays.

Successful applicants will be notified within three months of 12th December (in other words by mid-March 2015).

The Department of Environmental Affairs also offers bursaries to fulltime students, however applications for the 2015 academic year closed on September 26th this year.

Details of application are available from the DEA website

Additional  details of application for the 2015 internship program for Pretoria and Cape Town students are available on their website.

Fellowships and Internships Available in USA for South Africans

Applications for the prestigious international Mandela Washington Fellowship for 2015 are open until November 5 this year, the United States Embassy in South Africa has announced. There are also internship opportunities available & bursaries to study abroad.

Previously the programme was known as the Washington Fellowship but was renamed this year by President Barack Obama, in honour of the iconic President Nelson Mandela. It is considered to be a flagship programme that symbolizes and personifies President Obama’s commitment to initiate continued investment in the future of the African continent as a whole.

There are 500 fellowships available, and 100 of the successful “fellows” will be able to participate in internships, making this one of the most exciting bursaries available.

Mandela Washington Fellowships

While Washington Fellowships are available to all “young African leaders” from all parts of Africa, some of the most successful “fellows” to have been awarded fellowships in the past have come from South Africa. Celebrities, Faith Mangope (eTV), Candice Potgieter (CEO of the KZN Science Centre), and iNkosi Sbonelo Mkhize (Zulu chief) were all fellows this year (2014). Other less known participants were also involved in the fellowship this year, many of whom worked in rural communities (including several villages situated in the Eastern Cape and in Mpumalanga) where they could make an appreciable difference.

The way it works is that a total of 500 “young African leaders” get to spend a total of six weeks at a top United States university studying either:

Business and entrepreneurship
Civic leadership
Public management
bursaries to study abroad
study abroad scholarships
studying abroad
study abroad for free
study and work abroad

After completing their studies the fellows go to Washington, DC where President Obama hosts a summit that is also attended by government leaders, business leaders, and leaders that come from various NGO communities in the USA.

According to the US President’s office, the Fellowship has been designed to foster and encourage passion, confidence in the interests of the commitment of a new generation of leaders. It also offers participants a unique opportunity to meet some of the most dedicated American leaders who work in the community and report to President Obama, and share their ideas and approaches.


Internships are available to 100 of the fellows who stay on in the US for an extra six to eight weeks after the summit. The internships are varied, and include positions in private, public and in non-profit sectors in different parts of the country. They involve professional mentoring, and there is more than US$1-million in the form of seed money available for new initiatives and to grow brand new businesses.

While the organisers say that they do try to match fellows carefully with organisations, often the choice is based on broad interests rather than specific, as the internship opportunities are not intended to mimic experiences fellows will have at home. Instead it is intended that the experience will provide additional ideas, skills and even networks that they will be able to use later in life, to further their careers.

“The Fellowship internship is designed to offer a new perspective on the Fellow’s current position and prepare them for sector-wide leadership as they progress in their careers.”

Opportunities include all the sectors covered by South Africa’s SETAs, and it doesn’t end here. The United States Government will be offering an additional 200 professional placements and internships in major private-sector companies and in global non-government organisations. Millions of dollars worth of grants will be made available.

Who Can Apply for These Fellowships and Internships?

While the people who are accepted for this amazing initiative come from all walks of life and from very varied backgrounds, all applicants should be between 25 and 35 years of age. They must also have strong leadership skills and must be able to illustrate a good track record.

People who have been accepted previously include those who own small businesses, as well as environmental activists and those who are active in terms of education reform. Requirements are clearly stated on the Young African Leaders’ website.

President Obama said. “The Mandela Washington Fellowship will challenge preconceived ideas and open new horizons for those who embrace the experience.”