Growing demand for conserving natural resources requires the active transfer of skills, knowledge and experiences from one generation to the next. One proven way to achieve this is through the mentoring and coaching of students.
As one of the NZG’s strategic objectives the organisation appoints a number of qualifying students annually for work-integrated learning, studentships and internship programmes. The main objective is increasing their knowledge, developing individual potential, realising the students’ abilities of being tomorrow’s leaders and conservation ambassadors.
The effectiveness of the NZG’s mentoring programme depends mainly on exposing the students to a tight annual plan that is time-linked wherein key academic and on-the-job activities are intertwined. This is then followed by regular assessment that allows feedback, coaching and a dialogue that stimulates practical learning.
Measuring the success of the programme has been easy, clear and evident through students obtaining their qualifications at the end of the programme. Examples of this is the case of undergraduates and a number of previous students who are working full-time at the NZG. Others are employed elsewhere and the credit of all this is owed to the NZG’s management efforts and the commitment and dedication of allocated mentors.
By: Thomas Tshinondiwa Sikhwivhilu, NZG Department of Animal Collections and Conservation