“I thank the dti for this programme because it is not easy to get a job,” said programme graduate Nokie Chauke.
Chauke was speaking at the certification ceremony of unemployed graduates who participated in the programme.
The programme was developed by the dti to provide unemployed graduates with an opportunity to gain work experience that will enable them to be marketable in the labour market.
In 2013, the dti signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Skills Fund (NSF) of the Department of Higher Education and Training valued at R71 864 648 over a two-year period for the implementation of the programme.
The programme provides much-needed work experience through the 12-month internship in entities receiving financial and non-financial support from the dti.
Chauke -- an Information Technology graduate of Damelin College -- learnt of the programme through an email alert she received. She applied and landed an internship at Figtory, a digital design company. Chauke has worked for the company since March 2015 and will conclude her internship tomorrow.
She has learnt a lot from her internship, she told SAnews.
Managing Director of Figtory, Lehlohonolo Ramongalo, said the company took in three interns from the Itukise programme.
“We want to make a difference by giving skills,” he said.
The company will take in more interns in future. Ramongalo also congratulated Chauke for doing well throughout the course of her internship.
The programme, which was launched at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town in March 2014, provides work experience through a 12-month internship to unemployed graduates.
Dealing with youth unemployment
Speaking at the ceremony, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said democratic South Africa inherited a serious structural unemployment problem that continues to bedevil the country.
The Minister, however, said government is making a dent in unemployment.
“What we have been doing over the years is … creating more jobs every year than the year before. But the problem is that we have a young population. We have an increasing number of young people coming into the workforce, meaning that the unemployment problem is particularly a youth unemployment problem. That’s the challenge we are facing,” said Minister Davies.
Young people are facing increasing challenges to find employment in the economy, he said.
Minister Davies said work experience also remains as a challenge for South Africa. “That’s what employers are looking for.”
Another graduate of the programme, Wonke Lepheane, advised those who are interested in the programme to learn as much as they can over the 12-month period of the internship.
“I’d advise [people getting into the programme] not to act like they know everything… learning from someone else gives you a different perspective. You don’t learn if you act like you know everything so just be open to learning,” said the 23-year-old.
Lepheane learnt of the programme from his tertiary institution, Boston, last year where he was doing Media Studies.
He will complete his internship from Sage HR Imperial on 31 March.
“I hadn’t been exposed to the corporate world. A few months [into the internship], I realised that there is a space for creativity everywhere,” he said.
Lepheane said employees at Sage HR Imperial made him feel like part of the company.
“They didn’t want to treat us as people who are just there to learn. They made us part of the team. We were hands-on and were working on real projects,” he said.
Over 1 000 people have been taken on the programme, with more than 200 having completed the programme. One hundred and sixty-nine companies are participating in the programme.
Minister Davies said he is hopeful that certificates received by those who participated in the programme will be of value to those looking for work.