Will our digital graduates be flying drones?

What careers will our students pursue as digital graduates? Computer engineering? Hotel Management? Entrepreneurship? How about drone operator? More specifically, a drone operator specialising in the conservation of animals, habitats and the natural environment?

ShadowView Foundation, a Dutch registered charity founded in 2012, recently visited Good Work Foundation’s Hazyview Digital Learning Centre with a drone, and introduced Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs) operation to four of our adult students.

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UAV designer and operator, Lucian Banitz, gives Good Work Foundation students their first lesson in drone operation. From left: Precious Gumede, Sibusiso Mnisi, Reanette Gazide, Abna Machavana and Charles Ngomane.

Shadowview’s purpose is to provide effective and efficient aerial solutions to enhance environmental and humanitarian operational objectives. As an example, using UAVs, Act to Protect and the ShadowView Foundation have partnered in Malawi to protect the biodiversity (and specifically the elephants) of Kasungu National Park.

HDLC is positioned close to many of South Africa’s most beautiful wildlife areas, and with a growing pool of digital graduates who are from the local community, represents an ideal tertiary institution from which to train UAV operators.

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Africa’s first ever female drone pilot? Reanette Gazide banks gently to the left.

“We’re not just hunting poachers” said ShadowView Founder, Lourens de Groot, “we’re also working together with the Good Work Foundation to teach students in Africa the basics of radio-control flying and training them to become our next generation of UAV operators.”

As part of their visit, ShadowView donated a drone and flight simulator software to HDLC.

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Lucian Banitz helps Lawrence Sondlane get a feel for the operation of the drone.

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The drone soars high above the Hazyview Digital Learning Centre.

“Part of our vision has always been to connect young students with opportunities in their own communities” said Kate Groch, Good Work Foundation CEO. “This project is good for our country, good for our wildlife and allows our students the opportunity to apply their new digital skills to a hugely important cause that is also cutting-edge. If we can use technology to reduce poaching activity, and involve young people from our community, then let’s get talented “digitals” onto flight simulators and then out into the field protecting our wildlife.”

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