With the intention of expanding its team of climate experts, C4 Eco-Solutions has offered a unique internship programme to talented, early-career professionals and graduates since 2017. The programme is designed to equip interns with the necessary skills to actively contribute towards innovative project design and development, focusing on C4’s various areas of expertise, from climate science to public policy and human geography, and more.
‘Each year, the focus of the training and material itself is refined to keep up with the ever-evolving development landscape and our understanding of climate change impacts,’ says Alicia Raw, Portfolio Manager at C4 Eco-Solutions.
In contrast to the 2020 internship programme — which was conducted online to accommodate for Covid-19 — C4 is excited to be hosting this programme back at the office.
‘While the team adapted well to the online nature of the training at very short notice, the loss of personal engagement definitely impacted the overall efficiency of the course,’ says Alicia. ‘In-person engagement definitely helps facilitate stronger dialogue and build the personal relationships that underpin the team-based work we do here at C4.’
This year, more than 400 potential candidates applied for the opportunity to partake in the internship programme. The HR team had a tough job of reviewing each CV, filtering the long list down to 22 shortlisted candidates, who were invited to complete a written test. Hereafter, 12 candidates progressed to the interview stage, during which the final six were selected to join the team at C4.
Each of the successful candidates brings a unique set of skills and experience to C4, which will add to the diversity of the growing team. The new recruits are excited about their 6-month internship with the company, and we hope that they join C4 in the long term as analysts or consultants.
You can find out more about the successful candidates and their backgrounds below.
PhD Environmental Science (pending), MSc Environmental Science and BSc (Hons) Geography and Environmental Studies from Rhodes University
Menelisi Falayi recently submitted his PhD in Environmental Science for examination. In his research, he explored the dynamics that influence environmental governance systems in southern Africa. Prior to joining C4 Eco-Solutions, Menelisi worked as an Environmental governance hub leader under the UNDP-GEF5 project. He is particularly interested in climate mitigation & adaptation, climate governance, energy poverty and REDD+ project design and implementation. Since moving to Cape Town, Menelisi has spent most of his spare time exploring the hiking trails of the Tokai Forest.
When asked why he opted for an internship with C4, Menelisi said, ‘I felt it was the right time to transition from academia to industry. I was attracted to C4ES because of the company’s important work fighting climate change. In particular, the company’s values are aligned with my personal beliefs and aspirations. What’s more, C4 has provided me with an opportunity to grow and kick start my career in climate change and mitigation, which I am very excited about.’
MSc Aquaculture Science and Technology and BSc Ichthyology and Fisheries Science and Botany from James Cook University
Matt completed an MSc in Australia where he used Environmental DNA to determine the distribution of a freshwater turtle species in the Burdekin Region of North-Eastern Queensland. Following his graduation, Matt worked as a marine biology guide on the Great Barrier Reef, educating tourists on the threats of coral bleaching. Since his early experiences in the bush and by the ocean, nature has always been an important aspect of Matt’s life.
When asked about his favourite ‘hot topic’ in climate change right now, Matt said, ‘I am interested to follow the engagement of the private sector in climate change. I think that the climate response will be a major bottleneck for companies, and those that refuse to adapt will surely fall behind!’
BSc (Honours) and BSc Biodiversity & Ecology from Stellenbosch University
While studying at Stellenbosch, Jess focused on improving the feasibility of seagrass restoration in South Africa and developed the first ever tissue culture protocol for an indigenous seagrass species found in Langebaan Lagoon. Jess’s favourite hot topic in climate change right now is the #RestorationGeneration movement, which she believes is an important tool for climate change mitigation and adaptation. As a budding restoration ecologist, Jess is excited to see what large-scale restoration projects materialise over the course of the decade — especially in Africa!
When asked why she chose C4 for her internship, Jess replied, ‘After completing my Honours degree, I was extremely excited to enter the workplace and make a difference in the ‘real world’. While job-seeking, I came across a wide variety of employment opportunities, but none of them really stood out to me until I stumbled upon C4’s advertisement on LinkedIn. It must have been fate since the deadline for applications was only an hour away and I had an entire cover letter to compile! I have already learned so much after only a week at C4 and the more I discover about the company, the more I appreciate the work we’re involved in. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such an amazing group of people. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!’
SocSci (hons) in Social Anthropology and BA Journalism and Media Production from the University of Cape Town
For her SocSci (Hons) in Social Anthropology, Chloe researched the social dynamics surrounding a potential fracking industry in a small Karoo town in South Africa. She upskilled her education with multiple short courses from worldwide accredited universities in sustainable development topics such as ES, NBS, water and sanitation, urban nature and green interior design and architecture conceptual analysis and adaptation consulting. Chloe is passionate about finding innovative and regenerative solutions to climate change impacts using multi-interdisciplinary approaches that protect people and the planet. In her spare time, she works on community upliftment projects focused on social bridging and upliftment through environmentally positive practises.
When asked how she discovered her passion for nature and sustainability, Chloe said, ‘My love for nature was never a discovery; simply something that was inherent in my existence. Sustainability, on the other hand, was a concept that only came later life. While studying at UCT, I learned of a project about the restoration of dignity and basic human rights for safety and hygiene that hadn’t panned out the way the NGO implementing it had hoped, specifically because social integration hadn’t been incorporated into the project’s design. To me, their missing link was painstakingly obvious, so I was baffled to learn that this same understanding wasn’t apparent for most other people. I suddenly realised that I could be the middleman between community upliftment projects and private investment development companies, facilitating development that could be beneficial to both parties while making sure the project had a long, sustainable lifespan. I knew that’s what I wanted to do, but I had no idea how to get there. Eight years later… C4 offered me an internship.’
PGD Environmental Management and MPhil Environmental Management from Stellenbosch University
Louise attained her Postgraduate Diploma and Master of Philosophy in Environmental Management through Stellenbosch University’s School of Public Leadership. For her MPhil, Louise studied coastal wetland management as an effective climate response. Louise is particularly interested in a multidisciplinary approach to nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation; she is pleased that nature-based solutions are beginning to feature more prominently in the global discourse on addressing the climate crisis. In her spare time, Louise likes to swim, dance and play her piano. She also enjoys being in nature and birding.
MSc in Biological Sciences; BSc (Honours) in Biological Sciences and BSc Applied Biology and Ecology & Evolution from the University of Cape Town
During her MSc year at UCT, Kayla investigated the hydraulic safety margins of Cape fynbos Restionaceae, focusing mainly on the species’ tolerance limits in the face of extreme climate events, such as drought and flooding. Kayla is particularly interested in plant ecophysiology as a proxy for adaptive capacity, biodiversity conservation and the development of sustainable and adaptive solutions that can help vulnerable communities deal with issues arising as a result of climate change. In her spare time, Kayla enjoys hiking with her dogs and doing puzzles, although she also likes to get creative with paint.
When asked what component of the internship programme she was most looking forward to, Kayla said, ‘I have been a student my entire life and I was excited about doing this internship because I think it is the perfect way to start my career. I’m looking forward to learning the ropes in a corporate setting but also to applying my background knowledge in a way that will have a positive impact on the environment and uplift vulnerable communities.’