The impact of invasive alien species is a global concern. In South Africa there are a limited number of trained and experienced Biodiversity professionals therefore mentoring of young scientists is crucial to address the effective management of the country?s rich resources and combatting the impact of invasive alien species. In 2008 the South African National Biodiversity Institute established an Early Detection and Rapid Response Programme to manage invasive plant species. As South Africa still has a legacy of under-development of young scientists from communities disenfranchised under Apartheid this programme has had to employ many inexperienced staff. An innovative mentoring initiative was embedded into the programme to develop staff capacity and to provide access to established networks of experienced scientists in invasion biology and environmental sciences to transform and diversify the demographics in these fields. This article discusses this programme its outcomes monitoring and evaluation after the first year.
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