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    South Africa has a serious unemployment problem.

    Official statistics indicate that approximately 26.7% of all South Africans are unemployed. However, in reality this figure is much higher. It is even more worrying when we look at unemployment figures amongst youth in the 15 – 24-year age group. Both the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the World Bank Group place South African youth unemployment between 47.9% and 52.6%. South Africa is rated as the third highest in the world in respect of youth unemployment.

    In the last 20 years there has been a significant growth in black graduates but about 9% of black graduates are unemployed and 6% of white graduates are also unemployed.


    When considering an internship intervention, it is important to decide exactly what kind of internship your organisation is able to offer. Always keep in mind the following:

    Interns are not a source of cheap labour who are used to do low skill jobs that no one else wants to do.
    An internship must ensure that useful work related skills are passed onto the intern so that he/she becomes marketable when looking for a permanent job.
    A good internship requires management and supervisory time. An internship is an investment in the future.
    The internship year enables the organisation to see if any of the interns are a good fit for the organisation going forward.

      The internship year is a wonderful opportunity for young people to learn about the world of work and to acquire job related skills which will help them in their future careers.

      In order to ensure that the internship is meaningful, a lot of thought has to go into structuring the intervention. The intervention must have a champion who needs to have significant seniority in the organisation so that he/she can report at EXCO level. Often the responsibility for structuring and overseeing the internship is the responsibility of the Human Resource (HR) Department.


      As we know, people come in all shapes and sizes. Everyone has a different personality and is interested in different things. If the internship intervention is going to be successful, it is essential that time must be invested to ensure that the intern is a good ‘fit’ for the organisation and the department to which he or she will be allocated.