South Africa

SA National Defence Force giving graduates a chance

South Africa: It is that time of the year when unemployed South African graduates pack their bags and relocate to different big cities seeking a fruitful life with infinite opportunities.

Unemployment in South Africa is a reality for many young graduates. It is a war that the country is still battling. Employed and unemployed graduates are struggling with the rising costs of living, but it is much more difficult for job seekers with no money allowance, three years of no work experience and even worse with a qualification of no use, which can result, in one feeling incompetent and discouraged.

The South African National Defence Force has implemented a voluntary internship program to help advance the graduates’ growth. This is a promising strategy that the SA graduates still have a chance to achieve better employment opportunities going forward.

“I think that this internship is an opportunity for me to get workplace exposure with the benefit of increasing my chances for future employment,” said the intern at the South African Air Force Headquarters in Pretoria, who wished to remain anonymous.

The Department of Defence is in partnership with the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority (SASSETA).

Together the Department of Defence and Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority has established a 12 months voluntary internship for graduates and 18 months for the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme to help the unemployed SA graduates with the learning experience and provide necessary skills.

The Department of Defence voluntary internship program aims to expose the selected candidates to the working environment, providing practical work experience and valuable skills that they need to achieve their career goals.

The interns that are selected are placed with uniformed mentors within the Department of Defence to help prepare them for the real challenges they may face in the everyday working environment.

The graduates are to perform entry-level tasks given by their mentors/ supervisors with the same qualifications as the interns. The internship programme teaches the interns communications skills, discipline, the military culture and teamwork.

This is to help boost the interns’ confidence as they receive evaluations and get feedback on their tasks from their everyday mentors. While undergoing in-house training, honing their skills and forging lifelong relations, the interns receive monthly stipends.

However, the voluntary internship programme with the Department of Defence does not guarantee permanent employment with the department.

On the brighter side, besides work exposure and experience, these kinds of programmes offer a chance to the individual candidates who are still on a journey of finding themselves a career that aligns with them since they will be acquainted closely with their chosen fields and they have practical knowledge.

Amelia Jones

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