Atlantis SEZ Inspiring Young People to Pursue Future-focused Careers
  Sep 17, 2019     News, Atlantis SEZ

The Atlantis SEZ for Green Technologies held its fourth annual career expo for high school learners in Atlantis on Friday 13 September. During the event, the SEZ team also announced the winners of the annual Atlantis Renewable Energy Challenge.

Initiated in 2016 by GreenCape, in partnership with Wesgro and the City of Cape Town, the Career Expo and Annual Renewable Energy Challenge encourage and inspire young people in and around Atlantis to explore careers in the green economy.

“The City of Cape Town’s efforts to support and partner with all spheres of government is paying dividends. Most importantly these efforts are translating into countless jobs being retained and more jobs created. The vital cog in the wheel is our learners and we are committed via efforts of GreenCape and other partners to exposing and exciting our youth to career opportunities. These efforts have also enabled the City to demonstrate to the residents and surrounding areas that government is serious about economic and social development, and job creation in the area,” said Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management.

Interest in the Career Expo has grown steadily over the years, with over 250 learners attending in 2018. This year, learners met and engaged with many universities and colleges, and learned about learnerships and other career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM).

“Skills and youth development are key priorities for the SEZ, and primary and high school learners from Atlantis have been enthusiastically participating in these initiatives, and embracing the green economy since 2016,” said Alderman Cynthia Clayton, Sub-Council Chairperson, during her address.

“Around the world, young people are redefining their futures, and articulating a new vision of the sustainable future they want to live in. You [young people from Atlantis] are demonstrating that you’re ready to join this rising tide of young people who are calling for sustainable change, and who are ready to make the most of the opportunities presented by the green economy.”

For this year’s Annual Renewable Energy Challenge, learners had been asked to submit mural ideas in the form of canvases illustrating how renewable energy could uplift their community.

“It was such a positive and uplifting event, and so heartening to see the interaction between learners and exhibitors,” said Ursula Wellmann, SEZ Stakeholder and Skills Manager. “The Career Expo and the Annual Renewable Energy Challenge are highlights on the ASEZ calendar, and from the participation and the feedback we’ve received, it's clear the learners feel the same.”

During the announcement of the challenge winners, Wesfleur Primary teams shone, by taking first, second and third place in the primary schools category. Reygersdal Primary’s Water and Wind group also received a special mention.

An Atlantis School of Skills team walked away with the first prize in the high schools category. Robinvale High School took second prize, with Atlantis Secondary School taking third prize.

"As a learner from Proteus Secondary School, I participated in the first Atlantis Renewable Energy Challenge in 2016,” said Clyde Muller, one of the challenge judges. “Now, three years later, I had the privilege to be a judge. Seeing how deeply and creatively the learners engaged with the topic of renewable energy shows that our youth is ready for change, and for living in a sustainable world that is filled with new and exciting opportunities.”

According to Wido Schnabel, Chairperson of the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA), a sponsor of the event, “the colourful canvases the learners submitted to this year’s challenge showed the transformative power of renewable energy and the learners’ deep love for their communities and the planet. We hope that they continue to explore their interest in STEAM subjects, and pursue careers that will help them achieve their vision for the future, while transforming their communities and the planet.”

The learners’ canvases were exhibited at the event on mobile exhibition stands upcycled from pallets donated by Pallet Cycle, a pallet recycling company in Cape Town.

The mobile AREC exhibition will also be on display at a First Thursdays event, hosted by Premier Alan Winde at the Western Cape Provincial Government offices in Wale Street on 3 October, from 17:00 – 21:00.