KZN youth seize job opportunities in Agriculture
6 Oct 2011
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development has created approximately 728 jobs for the youth this year. The department embarked on a recruitment drive which commenced last year to employ unemployed graduates to work as Agricultural Assistant Extension Officers.
This is a direct response to the national call for job creation and a stride that will definitely bolster the department’s extension recovery services on food security and environmental management programmes.
The recruitment process targeted unemployed graduates with qualifications (Diplomas/Degrees) in Agriculture and Environmental Services. To date 559 Agricultural Assistant Extension Officers have been placed across all districts and 169 new recruits will be officially welcomed into the employment of the department by MEC Johnson on tomorrow 7 October 2011.
The new recruits are currently undergoing a week long induction programme at Cedara Agricultural Training Institution where they are being introduced and familiarised with departmental programmes before they are placed at their respective work stations throughout the province.
Their placement was informed by their field of specialisation such as crop science, soil science, agronomy, agricultural economics, environmental sciences, animal production etc. Their skills are utilised in the following programmes of the department:
- Food Security
- Livestock Development
- Crop Production
- Farmer Training
- Student Training
- Invasive Alien Species Programmes
- Environmental Management Programmes
- Land Care
- Rural Development
The assistant extension officers, in possession of Agricultural Diplomas have also been afforded the opportunity to upgrade their qualifications from Diplomas to Degrees. The department’s Cedara Agricultural Training Institution has aligned itself with other institutions such as Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and the University of Fort Hare.
In addition to the opportunity offered to upgrade their qualifications, a reskilling programme has been introduced to capacitate and refresh the knowledge of extension staff for effective service delivery.
In addition to the above mentioned Universities partnerships with the Universities of Pretoria and KwaZulu-Natal have been developed to contribute to the reskilling programme in terms of short courses. Approximately 174 newly recruited Assistant Extension Officers have seized the opportunity and are currently registered to study towards a B.Tech qualification at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
There are 73 permanently employed extension officers who have enrolled for either a B-Tech or a B-Agric at these institutions. The programme is offered on a part time basis for two years or on a full time basis for permanent employees.
The department has also purchased new vehicles for the extension recovery plan in order to enable its personnel to deliver on its mandate and access projects and targeted communities without difficulty. Brand new Chevrolet Captivas have been distributed to each district for this purpose.
The department is well on track on its target in terms of recruitment of unemployed graduates for the 2011/12 financial year. The new incumbents assumed duties on the 3 October 2011.
Tel: 033 343 8063
Fax: 033 343 8255
Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Agriculture, Enviromental Affairs and Rural Development
6 Oct 2011
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