Students attending African higher and vocational educational institutions are often required to undertake a thesis and / or work placement as part of their course, yet may experience difficulty sourcing or funding opportunities to do so. Further, once they have graduated, many students struggle to find training programmes from which they can gain experience to start their career. As part of our ALERT Education Centre programme we, with the assistance of partners (Antelope Park Gweru, Lion Encounter Victoria Falls and Wildlife Encounter Livingstone), have been offering fully funded placements. By the end of 2015 placements for 126 students from 17 educational institutions in Zambia and Zimbabwe had been provided, totalling over 900 months of placements between them.
In 2016 we, with our partners, have been able to continue this important project.
Fourteen students (7 males and 7 females) who started their placement in 2015 have continued with us into 2016.
- Three of those are on graduate training programmes, having completed their studies at BEST College or Micronet College in Gweru in travel & tourism or catering. Irvine Tete has joined Antelope Park’s animal management team, whilst William and Denver are training in Antelope Park’s hospitality departments.
- The remaining eleven are on placements at Antelope Park or at our Victoria Falls site, from: Micronet College Gweru; Sizinda Vocational Training Centre, Bulawayo; Midlands State University, Gweru; National University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo; University of Zimbabwe, Harare and; Great Zimbabwe University, Masvingo. Between them they are studying catering, information technology, forestry and wildlife management, ecology and wildlife research, and development studies.
- Some of these students are required to undertake research for a thesis whilst on their placement. Their chosen topics have included: Effectiveness of CCTV on combating crime: a case study of Antelope Park, Effect of season on habitat preference of impala, Impact of spotted hyena on habitat use by lion and African wild dog in Zambezi National Park, Distribution and change in population densities of ungulates in Zambezi National Park, and Challenges of implementing standard education in rural areas of Hwange District
Faith Siphuma, a student of Purchasing & Supply at Gweru Polytechnic College, interning at Antelope Park in the lodge’s stores
A further twenty-seven students commenced a placement in 2016 (13 males and 14 females). Seven are on graduate training programmes at Antelope Park, with the remainder on internship programmes across our three project sites in Zimbabwe and Zambia, of which, eight will be undertaking data collection for their thesis during their placement.
- Three interns joined our wildlife research programmes in Livingstone from Copperbelt University, where they are studying Wildlife Management.
- Three interns from Midlands State University, University of Zimbabwe and the National University of Science and Technology joined our wildlife research programmes in Victoria Falls, whilst one students from Midlands State University joined our community programmes in the same location.
- The remaining 13 interns, from eight different educational institutions across Zimbabwe, are interning at our Antelope Project site. Their studies represent a range of disciplines, including: Purchasing & Supply, Business Management, Travel & Tourism, Hotel & Catering, and Animals & Wildlife Science.
Rejoice Dhula, a Tourism & Hospitality student from Masvingo Polytechnic interning at Antelope Park, pictured here assisting in the lodge’s reception
About ALERT Education Centres (AEC)
The AEC operations at Livingstone (Zambia), Victoria Falls and Antelope Park (Zimbabwe) are all aimed at supporting the formal education system by offering extra-curricular activities to enhance student learning, and assisting with access to education for vulnerable students. Current programs include the provision of classes in conservation education, basic life skills, and English literacy. In addition, we provide funding to pay the fees of vulnerable students to take part in education from pre-school to university level, and fully funded internship and facilitated research placements for university level students. Future programmes will incorporate classes in numeracy, health & nutrition, physical education and business studies/entrepreneurship, as well as a variety of vocational training. The AEC is operated in association with Coventry University (UK), Midlands State University (Zimbabwe) and Copperbelt University (Zambia), and with the assistance of David Brackstone of John Taylor High School (UK). The first AEC, at Antelope Park, was opened in 2012 by the then Zimbabwe Minister of Education, Mr. David Coltart.
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