Internships and Apprenticeships – a big WIN for all involved

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We are all compelled to think about the people in society who do not have the opportunity or the exposure to uplift themselves from their current situation.  So many people work through challenging situations to achieve a qualification, but due to having no work experience, they have no means of placing themselves in a suitable job afterwards.

To be able to give a person the opportunity to embrace and pivot themselves to becoming a fully-fledged qualified and work-ready person, is not only an amazing achievement for that person,  but also one for the company and for society as a whole.  This person may become instrumental in ensuring his / her children are also given opportunities to be successful in this world – and so the upliftment cycle will continue.

All companies should embrace internship and apprenticeship programs: Be the difference we all want to see in the world.  Not only will a company become involved with an intern or an apprentice that can be trained as to the way the company operates, it can also identify top talent, should there be any permanent positions available within the company. This can make a huge difference to someone’s future and the country’s economy as a whole.

Taking on a person in a company with no experience is no easy feat, but one should always look at the bigger picture and realise that everybody can make a difference.

One of the obstacles a company faces is the cumbersome and time-consuming process to get access to government funding to be able to employ an intern or apprentice. The Western Cape Government has recently issued assurance that the process will be improved, due to the mandate they have of creating 343 000 jobs by 2019.  There is approximately R100m funding available of the R880m apportioned for their Apprenticeship program. Other provinces should have similar amounts available. (https://www.westerncape.gov.za/general-publication/apprenticeship-game-changer ).

Another obstacle is how the time spent putting the mentorship program into place as well as the allocation of a mentor to upskill this person with the correct job readiness level, including technical as well as soft skills, can be justified. If the proposed funding system is effective though, this should be the least of a company’s worries.

An efficient ecosystem between government funding, the company and the incumbent will assist even small companies to play their part in effectively contributing towards that first, foundation building experience an intern or apprentice needs to gain sufficient experience to enter the job market.

Beth Keytel is the Human Resource manager at OPENCOLLAB (www.opencollab.co.za) where successful internships have been implemented.

Contact: beth@opencollab.co.za

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