Developing critical skills in the water

and related sectors 

The Water Graduate Employment Programme

About Us

The Water Graduate Employment Programme (or Water GEP) was initiated by the Water Research Commission (WRC) with funding support through the National Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and National Treasury.

The Water Graduate Employment Programme – or Water GEP – is a project under the Presidential Economic Stimulus Plan. The programme rests on the participation and interrelationship of four stakeholders.

Who is involved?

The Water Research Commission

The Water Research Commission (WRC) was established in terms of the Water Research Act (Act No. 34 of 1971) following a period of serious water shortage. The WRC serves as South Africa’s largest funder of water and sanitation-related research. The WRC is the research and development partner of the sector leader, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), and provides the sector with knowledge and capacity to ensure sustainable management of water resources and enhance water services. Research is funded through water research levies as well as from research partners, international donors and foundations.

With access to sufficient water and adequate sanitation of an appropriate quality being necessary for life, human dignity, economic growth and social development – developing the skills and capacity of the youth within the administrative, soil sciences, engineering, water purification, sanitation and related fields is of critical importance.

The Implementing Agent (Working Solutions International)

The Water Research Commission (WRC) works with a partner to implement the Water GEP. The implementing agent is responsible for: project oversight; selection, matching and placement of graduates with hosts; providing training value adds (work readiness); setting up online platforms as well as providing monitoring and evaluation services.

Working Solutions International (WSI) has been contracted to project manage the pilot (and current) phase of the Water GEP. WSI is a South African based management consultancy company founded in 1999. The SMME offers a range of education, training and skills development services mainly to the public sector. WSI has over 20 years of experience in delivering skills programmes and learnerships as well as placing students in companies where there is a fit.

The Graduate

The graduate typically holds a science or engineering degree or diploma. This can range from Bachelor’s in Science with specialisations in Information Technology, Engineering, Geology or Environmental Management. Or Diploma’s in Nature Conservation or Engineering Technology.

Undergraduates, honours, masters and PHD graduates can apply – but will only be accepted if unemployed and not studying at the time.

Science Graduate

The Host Institution

Host employers include universities , SMMEs and Industry, government and Water Service Institutions. These institutions are involved in priority projects with foci on: Greening the environment; Water and Health; Food Security; Water and Waste Infrastructure projects; Improving water quality and accessibility. They mentor online or oversee site visits.

Work can range from research and data analysis, through to construction of infrastructure projects and innovation support around emerging technologies.

The Water GEP Pilot

The Water GEP is currently running as a pilot programme.

This programme started in 2021 with the objective to provide work exposure and capacity-building opportunities in the water and sanitation (and linked) sectors for 400 unemployed graduates nationally. Recent graduates and those who have been unemployed for years registered for this 4-month internship. Matching and placement is ongoing.

This programme will come to an end in July 2021. If successful, this programme will continue into the future.