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College paves way for tourism career

A lack of money should be no barrier to young Northlanders wanting to study at a new tourism and hospitality college in Paihia, its chief executive says.

QRC Tai Tokerau Resort College was opened last week with an initial intake of 19 students, all but one of whom are young Maori from Northland. Up to 50 more students will be accepted this year. Eventually the roll could grow to 350.

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The college, based on Selwyn Rd in central Paihia, is a satellite campus of Queenstown Resort College but with some crucial differences.

QRC chief executive Charlie Phillips said students who qualified for a study grant, as determined by a means test, would pay about $3500 a year in fees. By contrast Queenstown students paid $13,000.

The course was residential with accommodation and three meals a day included. An accommodation allowance covered most of those costs. Students who could not afford the $80 per week shortfall could apply to the Northland Youth Education Trust.

Although set up by the college, the trust’s decisions were independent.

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The course was structured so that students studied for six months, completed a paid internship for nine months, then did another six months study. Even at minimum wage students should be able to earn $15,000 on internship to pay off their student loans. “So there should be no financial barrier to attending the college,” Mr Phillips said.

Students had to wear a uniform from day one and meet high standards of grooming, attendance and punctuality. That meant they could hit the ground running once they started work, he said.

The course also had a strong focus on pastoral care with a “super coach” responsible for organising after-school activities such as sport, music and kapa haka. The impetus for the college came from New Zealand Maori Tourism chief executive Pania Tyson-Nathan who saw it as a way of getting young Maori employed in the tourism industry.

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Source: nzherald


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South Africa’s 2016 solar-car race set to kick off on September 24

This year’s biennial eight-day Sasol Solar Challenge will take place from September 24 to October 1. The event will start in Pretoria, move down to Port Elizabeth and wrap up in Cape Town, similar to the 2014 solar challenge. The 2016 event again revolves around maxi-mising and managing the energy created by the solar vehicles. Each of the eight stages is around 260 km long, with the challenge being 2 000 km in total. However, each day, teams must decide how many loops their vehicle can complete in addition to the daily stage, with loops varying in length from 23 km to 74 km. Vehicles may only be charged by the sun during the eight-day event.

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The winner is the team which can complete the most kilometres. The winner of the previous Sasol Solar Challenge, the world champion Nuon Solar Team, from the Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands, won the 2014 event by travelling more than 4 000 km, says Sasol Solar Challenge manager Annalie van Vuuren. She says 29 international teams have shown interest in competing in the South African event. The 2014 challenge had six international participants. “The international teams appreciate the route’s dynamic change in landscape, which requires strategic thinking and planning.

The routes in other challenges are often straight and through the desert. “We hope to secure the top five in the world’s top ten teams for this year’s event.” Van Vuuren says this year’s line-up will most likely include Nuon; previous Sasol Solar Challenge winner – absent from the 2014 event – Tokai University, from Japan; Near East University, from Cyprus; Anadolu, from Turkey; and Punch Powertrain, from Belgium. Local competitors, which every year up their game, should include the North-West University, Tshwane University of Technology and the University of the Witwatersrand. Entries for the solar challenge close on May 1. Van Vuuren is currently hard at work to secure a shipping sponsor for the event, as this will enable many of the interested international teams to participate in the 2016 Sasol Solar Challenge.

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“We have had interest from teams in Belgium, Italy, Hungary, Colombia, Australia, Canada and Chile, to name but a few, but it is expensive for these mostly university teams to ship their vehicles to South Africa.” She adds that the South African challenge has ascended to now rank as one of the top six solar events in the world.

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Source: engineeringnews


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Will Climate Change Actually Help Crops?

As climate change brings unpredictable weather, droughts, floods, heat waves, cold spurts, and a general sense of chaos to the world of agriculture (and, well, the world, in general), one element is a little more mysterious.

Researchers from around the globe, led by Delphine Deryng, an environmental scientist at Columbia University, took a look at one curious element amongst all the disaster. Increased carbon dioxide levels are heavily associated with climate change, and it’s certainly no shocker that carbon dioxide levels are rising due to all kinds of human activities. But plants, we all learned in elementary school, actually love carbon dioxide: They take it in and expel oxygen, right? So does that mean, even if plants can’t save us, that at least they’ll be happy?

It turns out: sort of! An explanation of how this works, from the study’s release:

The concept is relatively simple; plants take in carbon to build their tissues, and if there is more carbon around, they have an easier time. Leaves take in air through tiny openings called stomata, but in the process the stomata lose water; with more carbon available, they don’t have to open up as much, and conserve moisture.

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The study takes into consideration an excess of carbon dioxide in the air and tries to figure out how that would affect the planet’s four main crops: maize, wheat, soy, and rice. This turns out to be more about water than a simple more-carbon-dioxide-means-more-yields connection; the study finds that all four crops will take in more carbon dioxide and use water more efficiently by 2080, but not that we will necessarily see higher yields.

According to these calculations, the study predicts that wheat fields fed by rain, including those in North America, could defeat increased heat and water scarcity stress and actually produce more yields. Irrigation-fed wheat, as in China and India? Nope—still screwed. Corn yields will decrease everywhere, and the jury’s still out on rice and soybeans (the study found that some projections show an increase and some show a decrease).

This study is not, of course, saying that climate change will be good for crops. The inherent unpredictability of the change makes it exceedingly difficult to expect much of anything to go right, let alone to predict it. But it is demanding that we look at all possible effects of climate change, and take note that this is all much more complex than “the planet is heating up.”

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Source: modernfarmer


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How the government is helping black businesses in SA

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says government’s incentives have helped to leverage R57 billion in investments over the past year.

The Minister said this when he tabled the department’s Budget Vote at the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Addressing members of Parliament after briefing the media earlier in the day, the Minister said the tax incentives amounting to R10 billion have resulted in long-term investments that have saved struggling factories.

“…Across the Department of Trade and Industry’s (Dti) main incentive schemes, R57.1 billion in private-sector investment is being leveraged as a result of the Dti having provided incentive support during the last financial year of approximately R10 billion.

“This support is provided to a wide range of local and domestic companies, one thousand seven hundred and seventy in the last financial year to be exact,” he said.

The Minister said he has visited many of these factories in the past year and he can report that these government contracts have created a mood of optimism on the shop floors and factories.

“Industries that appeared to have no future and where assets were being run-down prior to being sold for scrap have been revitalised and long-term investments – including in machinery, people and skills – are being made which augur well for these industries’ future,” he said.

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More focus on creating black industrialists

Minister Davies said due to a continued shortage of black industrialists, the department would focus on supporting qualifying black industrialists in the year ahead.

The Minister said it remained an impossible task to build an inclusive and stable society when some sectors and industries remain largely untransformed, and where established sectors are perceived as monopolising access to government resources.

“In the coming year, we will focus on supporting qualifying black industrialists through access to funding, incentives, soft loans, market access, procurement opportunities, training and capacity building, matchmaking and information sharing, research and innovation, assistance to meet quality standards, productivity enhancement support, and economic infrastructure.

“This support will be provided through collaboration with development finance institutions, state-owned companies, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the South African Bureau of Standards, along with other private and public institutions.

He said about 50 applications have already been received and are being considered by the department, covering sectors such as Agro-processing, Chemicals, Cosmetics, Pharmaceuticals, Mineral beneficiating sectors, Oil & gas, Automotive, Rail, Clothing & Textiles, Green Energy, Capital Equipment, and ICT.

“We are grateful for the many messages of support we are receiving from the private-sector and – increasingly – firm offers to collaborate and partner with Government to make the Black Industrialist Programme a success,” he said.

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Localisation central to IPAP implementation

Meanwhile, the Minister said in a few weeks’ time, the department would release the 8th iteration of its Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) covering the period 2016/7-2018/9.

He said one of the important transversal policy levers identified in IPAP is local procurement.

“Thus far we have designated more than 16 sectors or products where public entities are required to procure from products produced in this country. These include rail rolling stock, work wear and uniforms, and furniture.

“The three latest designations came into force on 21 October 2015. These are conveyance pipes, transformers and steel sub-structures.

“I am happy to report that we are now beginning to see real impact of these commitments to local procurement in a number of industries,” he said.

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Source: businesstech


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3D Architecture and design software with Yashaen Luckam, President of The South African Council for the Architecture Profession

How is 3D software transforming the architecture industry?

3D software is beneficial to both the process of design and the representation of design to clients and other stakeholders.

The historic 2D representation of architectural concepts is difficult for many clients to imagine as built liveable space. Scaled physical models, which supplemented 2D drawings, provided a better understanding of the form and general aesthetic of the building, however, 3D digital software represents architecture at the human scale. A person can now walk through a building or view it on the site as he/she would in the real built form.

For architects and designers, 3D software provides opportunities to engage with architecture “inside-out”, exploring spatial interconnections in volume. The scales of experience and grades of intimacy between user and space are unlimited, thereby enhancing the development of place through socio-spatial interaction, which all good architecture aspires to.

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Do you believe this is a trend which is set to grow and why?

This trend has been growing ever since inception. The demand for high quality 3D software is on the increase. This has driven the continuous development of 3D software packages which has seen new/revised versions being released in short time.  Software developers have grasped this opportunity although market competition is high.

Is the cost not prohibitive or is this coming down – is this perhaps a factor in its adoption at the moment?

Cost does not seem to be prohibitive as the vast majority of architectural practices are using 3D software. There are “Lite” versions of software at lesser cost, with obviously fewer possibilities and options. Student versions are a fraction of the cost of the full versions and this exposes young practitioners to 3D software. A significant number of these students move on to set up private practices which then purchase licensed versions of software for commercial use.

How is 3D technology being used today by architects, what are some of the more innovative ideas and solutions?

Some of the more organic or amorphous architectural forms, which are near impossible to achieve through 2D drawings or physical modelling, become possible with 3D modelling. Many internationally acclaimed, award-winning architects rely heavily on 3D software for design development. Nowadays, 3D software affords interdisciplinary interfaces with engineering and construction software, which can translate ambitious and innovative design forms and structures into working drawings, details and ultimately, production / construction.

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What are the implications of this technology for the industry in SA?

3D software has to translate into Building Information Modelling (BIM), in order to realise idea / concept as built form; this is what will transform practise in South Africa, especially in the SMME sector.  Computer technology has literally shrunken the office footprint and the one-person practise becomes much more possible. Access to the profession and business is therefore easier, which is of particular importance to transformation in a volatile, growing economy.

Any other thoughts?

3D software and digital technology has to be harnessed and exploited to the fullest in order to benefit practices in the SMME sector. Technology has redefined the concept of the office or studio as well as access to resources. Mobility and connection is the way of professional business today – a computer with the relevant software and wifi is all that may be required to run a sustainable practise. The office and library have largely become virtual spaces, while the coffee shop has taken the place of meeting room. All this is to the credit of computer and digital technologies.

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Source: cbn


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Nearly 6 000 smart meters installed in Sandton, Midrand – Eskom

Power utility Eskom is making progress with the roll-out of smart electricity meters in Sandton and Midrand, with 5 932 meters installed in the first three months of this year.

Eskom has made a strategic decision to convert all of its conventionally billed customers to prepaid meters, a project it believes will support the utility’s financial stability efforts.  Customers will also benefit from improved reliability, reduction of public safety incidents, better management of energy consumption and the elimination of billing errors. Eskom plans to have smart meters installed at the premises of all 32 885 of its domestic customers in Sandton and Midrand by the end of the 2016/17 financial year.

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The conversion of the smart meters to prepaid will resume in July, once Eskom has upgraded its online vending system. Meanwhile, Eskom has installed more than 40 000 split prepaid meters in Soweto, 13 000 of which have been converted to prepaid mode.   The utility has already improved its revenue collection in Soweto by R33.63-million, as a result of the installation of the split prepaid meters.

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Source: engineeringnews


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KZN dam levels continue to dip – Umgeni Water

Durban – A week of searing heat in KwaZulu-Natal did little to alleviate the province’s water woes, with service provider Umgeni Water saying dam levels continued to dip.

Spokesperson Shami Harichunder said that water resource availability remained “of grave concern”.

“Water shortages within the Umgeni Water operational area are as a result of a protracted drought, which has affected many parts of KwaZulu-Natal. Exacerbating the current situation are high temperatures, which cause evaporation of dam surface water,” he said.

Harichunder added that below average rainfall was predicted for the next four months.

“Information released by the CSIR suggests that the below-average rainfall pattern will continue to be experienced until the end of August 2016.

“This means that the amount of water currently available in dams that are owned or operated by Umgeni Water will have to be carefully managed in order to ensure that available water lasts until the next good rains arrive.”

He said that water cuts by municipalities would be key in managing the scarce resource.

“Management of water resources at times of absence of rainfall and simultaneous reduction of dam levels involves the application of a cut in potable water production at water treatment plants and introduction of restrictions by water services authorities,” he said.

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Source: news24


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BHP, Rio iron ore output guidance cuts could boost prices

Some of the world’s biggest iron ore miners are slashing ambitious production targets, a move likely to restore balance to the commodity’s skewed fundamentals and fuel price gains ahead.

On Wednesday, BHP Billiton, the world’s third-largest producer,lowered its 2016 output guidance by 10 million tonnes. The news comes a day after number two producer Rio Tinto cut its 2017 forecast by 20 million tonnes and left its 2016 global shipments estimate unchanged at 350 million tonnes.

Weather-related issues were broadly at fault after a cyclone hit Western Australia’s iron ore mining belt, called the Pilbara, earlier this year. Stalled production at Samarco, a company joint-owned by BHP and Brazilian miner Vale, following a deadly dam collapse last year also weighed on BHP’s results while Rio’s performance was hampered by a delay in the deployment of its driverless train technology.

“This is quite positive for the spot price. As more major miners cut production, concerns about oversupply could finally be cooling down,” Angus Nicholson, market strategist at IG, said.

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The price of iron ore, a key steel-making ingredient, dropped nearly 40 percent in 2015 on the back of an enormous supply glut, but the mineral substance has since recovered most of those losses. Year-to-date, iron ore is more than 40 percent higher, having recently breached the psychologically important $60 level, on the back of improved demand from China, reflected by a 6.5 percent rise of iron ore imports in the first three months of the year.

Beijing is channeling its massive monetary and fiscal resources to stimulate a nation experiencing its slowest pace of economic growth in over two decades—stimulus that has yielded a noticeable recovery in property investment, industrial production and fixed asset investment. Data last week showed all three indicators logging robust gains in the first quarter of the year.

Because these sectors consume massive amounts of industrial metals such steel, the commodity market benefits.

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With the added support of lower production from major miners, iron ore should be able to stay above $60 a tonne in the near-term, Nicholson said. Prices jumped to a six-week peak of $62.85 a tonne on Tuesday, according to the Metal Bulletin’s benchmark index.

“The price rise is sustainable. We probably will not see the lows of $30-$35 for a while and if we do see a correction, it would be a correction that I’d buy into,” said Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer of Ayers Alliance Securities.

From a global supply-and-demand perspective, lower output targets were positive for the market because it created a sense of better balance, explained Shaw and Partners’ metals and mining analyst Peter O’Connor.

BHP and Rio’s combined lowered output will prevent 30 million tons of new supply from hitting the market. While that number may seem like a tiny drop in iron ore’s estimated 1.5 billion-tonne seaborne market, it could lead to a tighter market in 2017, O’Connor explained.

Another factor supporting the commodity’s price recovery was delayed spending on new projects, Nicholson noted. Rio has yet to make a investment in its Silvergrass mine in the Pilbara, which further limits the amount of new supply.

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Source: cnbc


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SACAP invited to attend DPW’s Budget Vote in parliament this week

SACAP logo

The President and Registrar for the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP), Mr Yashaen Luckan and Ms Marella O’Reilly respectively, have been invited to join members of Cabinet and MEC’s in Parliament this Wednesday 20th April for the Budget Vote of The Department of Public Works’ (DPW). Councillor Rowen Ruiters, Chairman of SACAP’s Stakeholder Relations Committee, will accompany Ms O’Reilly to Parliament on behalf of the President.

The Budget Vote Speech is delivered annually. This year will again be delivered by Minister Thulas Nxesi who will outline the DPW’s plans and highlight its priorities for the year ahead. Minister Nxesi will also inform the distinguished audience on progress and developments taking place within the DPW. The funding issues to be discussed relate to spend allocation advised, in part, by professionals working directly within DPW’s Architecture Unit.

Commenting on the significance of being invited this year and her commitment to travel down to Cape Town in order to attend, Ms O’Reilly notes that, “SACAP’s strategic plan and objectives are aligned with the imperatives of the NDP and the roll out of its cutting edge large scale infrastructure projects. Architects ignite the planning process of projects such as these undertaken by DPW, and can be seen as the apex of the value chain hierarchy which rolls them out.”

SACAP receives its mandate from the Architectural Professionals Act No 44 of 2000 and falls under the purview of DPW. SACAP is one of DPW’s built environment councils and regulates the architecture professionals as well as supports the broader built environment and its projects.  DPW’s Council for the Built Environment (CBE) harmonises the relationship of all the professional councils.  Together with the other councils, SACAP ensures that it concretises DPW’s mandate to transform the built environment. It does so through developing policies and programmes specifically within the architectural profession.

For more information on SACAP please visit: www.sacapsa.com

 

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Plans to raise R3 million for youth’s bursaries

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – BRANDED Youth and Standard Bank plan to raise R3 million as bursaries for needy students in South Africa.

This is part of broader plans to empower youth in the country.

Through the Standard Bank Youth Expo set for August, the two organisations aim to through sponsorships, exhibitor contributions, donations from the public at large, including private businesses.

Once achieved, the money will be donated to various tertiary institutions, so they can award bursaries to deserving students.

Meanwhile, the Standard Bank Youth Expo is seen as a platform that will provide South African matriculants and university students with the tools to navigate the prevailing volatile economic environment. It set for August 6-7 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

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The expo follows the realization that only about 15 percent of high school students make it to university, and the youth unemployment rate rests at 63,1 percent with the former influencing the latter.

“There’s a greater need for brands and organizations to engage with the youth of South Africa to ensure that they are educated and empowered for the future, we therefore designed The Standard Bank Youth Expo as a platform that will fully cater to this,” Bradley Maseko, Managing Director of Branded Youth, said.

Motlatsi Mkalala, Senior Manager for Youth Customer Financial Solutions at Standard Bank South Africa, said their research and the current political climate show that South African youth are concerned about their future outlook.

“They are afraid of becoming another unemployment statistic, failed entrepreneurs, or being unable to afford their tertiary tuition,” said Mkalala.

“The Standard Bank Youth Expo will show them that this does not have to be the case. The Youth Expo will provide all the resources necessary that can help turn dreams of future success and prosperity into reality.”

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Source: cajnewsafrica


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