Tips To Nail Your Internship

Tips To Nail Your Internship

Written by Elbie Liebenberg for W24

Getting an internship in South Africa’s job market is just as tough as landing a permanent job. Should you be lucky enough to get this opportunity, make the best of it. Here’s how:

Principal of Oxbridge Academy  Elbie Liebenberg says the first rule of being an intern is to take your professionalism to the next level.This means dress neatly and appropriately for the role, always be punctual, be willing to learn, and complete your tasks to the best of your ability, even if those tasks seem boring. 

Apply yourself in every task

Always show that you are interested in learning by asking questions, offering assistance, and giving input where you can. And don’t be afraid to speak up about your ideas.The more you contribute, and the more you complete tasks successfully, the bigger the likelihood that more and more work will be passed your way. By the end of your internship, you will have made yourself a useful part of the team, and employers may decide that you will be a valuable permanent addition.

“Even if that doesn’t not happen, you will be assured of a glowing recommendation, and you’ll have learned important skills that will stand you in good stead when going to interviews and when starting your first real job.” she says. 

Find a mentor 

An internship allows you to build professional relationships with people in your field, which means that even if you don’t land a position at the company where you are interning, your new contacts are likely to alert you to any suitable opportunities that arise in the industry. It’s also a good idea to find someone who has been in the industry or the company for a few years, who can guide you and advise you about your field and about those practical aspects you wouldn’t have learned about during your studies.

Ask for help 

A big mistake some interns make is to think that they are incapable or that they have failed if they are asked to do something and they don’t know how. Nobody expects an intern to be able to do everything that is thrown their way. Everyone understands that an internship is a learning curve, and that it can be quite overwhelming. So if you’re unsure of what it is you are being asked to do, get clarification and assistance straight away.

It is also important to remain open to constructive criticism and not to go on the defence, as this is all part of the experience.

Keep notes 

During your internship, keep notes of all the different tasks you have mastered and the contributions you have made to the team. When your time with a company nears its end, ask whether you may schedule a short meeting with the departmental head or HR.

Then use that opportunity to discuss what went well, and to ask for the leader’s insight and advice going forward.

It’s important at this stage to thank them for the opportunity, and to demonstrate that you are a good fit for the company, that you enjoyed working there, and that you would like to be considered for future opportunities should they arise.

Image sourced here.

Are you interested in a career as a Skills Development Facilitator?

chart reflecting skills development

A Skills Development Facilitator (SDF) is an individual nominated by the organisation to serve as a liaison between the Seta and the company. This individual will be added as the contact person on the Fasset database and he/she will be provided with access to the Fasset online system which will enable them to monitor grant submissions and levies.

The Role of the SDF

The SDF’s role will require him or her to:

  • Assist the employer and employees to develop a Workplace Skills Plan which complies with the requirements of the Seta
  • Submit the Workplace Skills Plan to the relevant Seta
  • Advise the employer on the implementation of the Workplace Skills Plan
  • Assist the employer to draft an Annual Training Report on the implementation of the Workplace Skills Plan
  • Advise the employer on the quality assurance requirements set by the Seta
  • Act as a contact person between the employer and the sector Seta
  • Serve as a resource with regard to all aspects of skills development
  • Communicate Seta initiatives, grants and benefits to the employer
  • Communicate with branch offices, and all employees in the main office and branch offices, concerning events and grants being offered at the Seta
  • The employer must provide the Skills Development Facilitator with the resources, facilities and training necessary to perform the functions set out.

The SDF will receive all invitations to Fasset events and benefits, information about Fasset, grant reminders, quarterly newsletters and monthly electronic newsletters. Failure to pass or act on Fasset information, or refer information to the correct person/s in your organisation, may result in financial loss to your organisation. For example, invitations to FREE Fasset training events are open to all staff, not only to the SDF. More than one staff member may attend from each organisation and it is your obligation to ensure that employees within the company/ies you represent have an opportunity to attend these interventions.

Certain SDFs external to the organisation they represent, or working in a private SDF company may represent a number of employers, and thus have an even greater obligation to ensure that these employers utilize these Fasset benefits.

SDFs that do not perform their duties must be accountable to their employers. Fasset will not give leeway to employers claiming compensation or lenience in terms of grant deadlines missed, or information not passed on to them by their SDF.

Lastly, SDFs who have not furnished Fasset with email addresses and fax numbers are missing out on information and invitations that are sent to employers via means other than ‘snail mail’. Kindly contact the Fasset call centre on 086 101 0001 orfassetcallcentre@fasset.org.za in order to update your details.

Secondary Skills Development Facilitator

The status of Secondary SDF has been introduced by Fasset to allow for more than one person to have access to the employer’s information on the Seta Management System (SMS). The Secondary SDF is someone appointed by the SDF of an organisation. An example is a finance manager, who works for an organisation, and requires view access to the grant and levy details. The role of the Secondary SDF is similar to that of the conventional (primary) SDF. Similar system privileges on the electronic Seta Management System (SMS) are allocated, except the Secondary SDF has view access to an organisation’s information.

How much can an SDF expect to earn?

According to PayScale, the median salary of an SDF, as collected from the National Salary Date is R154 429.00 per annum.

Community of Experts

i-Fundi will be hosting the next Community of Experts workshop which aims  to explore the challenges, internal strategies, management processes and technology solutions for companies to support SDF’s in streamlining skills development compliance. The Community of Experts Series addresses topics of common interest to practitioners of various professional communities. Facilitated by industry and subject matter experts, these events expose participants to new ideas as presented by a guest speaker and allow a forum for the participants to learn and share their experiences.

If you would like to participate in the upcoming CoE, rsvp with reggie@i-funi.com, or call us on 011 290 5900.

Programme Details

Date: Friday, 26 February

Time: 10h00 – 12h00

Venue: i-Fundi: 1st Floor, Regenesys Campus,

4 Pybus Road, Sandton

Cost: Free

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A helping hand goes a long way!

There is a saying by James Keller which says, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle”.

Siphiwe Ngwenya (23) is a prime example of a young man who has risen above the challenges he’s faced in life, not solely of his own doing, but through the care and help of several guiding hands.

After graduating with an NCV certificate, Ngwenya was faced with a financial stumbling block, which meant his hopes of enrolling to a higher education institution were somewhat derailed.

He chose to remain undefeated by the predicament, and applied for what would be his first job, in 2012 at a UTI Warehouse. It was through this opportunity which the young man heard about African Bank’s learnerships.

“The turning point in my life was when I actually completed my 12 months learnership via I-Fundi Customer Solutions and became permanently employed by African Bank as supervisor, from being a consultant”, he says.

“When I think of people who have shaped my life, outside of my mother, I think of a woman called Ros Rome, who worked as a facilitator at i-Fundi. I admired Rome’s work ethic, and the woman encouraged me to have a target driven mentality. I have carried what she taught me to this day”, he says.

“I looked up to my facilitator because she believed in my abilities and made me believe that I could achieve- and so I did”, he continues.

African Bank’s Learnership Manager, Karmini Pillay (28) has been employed at African Bank for five years.

Pillay, in her position as Learnership Manager recognises the importance of being a mentor to the pupils, as she herself was groomed by another to finally take up the position of Learnership Manager and facilitator.

“I had a wonderful mentor whom I admired deeply and will forever be indebted to”, she explains. That woman was so strong, yet soft – in a motherly and nurturing manner. Her name is Esmë Britz. She absolutely changed my life and career path, as I became her successor when she left the post”, she says.

“At African Bank, learnerships have become entrenched in the company as the only way in which we recruit our employees”, says Pillay.

Pillay says that African Bank launched the unemployed learnership programme in 2011 and it has been a, major success. “Not only do learnerships lower the company’s attrition rates, and contribute to the unemployment rate in the country at large, the very good news is that – of the pupils who go through our learnerships, we have recorded an average of 77% hire rate through the years”, she says.

“I love the fact that as a company, we are invested in community growth. Learnerships are not just an easy way to increasing our BEE scorecard, – to the contrary. We implement strategies which will shape the future of South Africa. Beyond that, I love waking up knowing that I will be a mentor- a positive guide in someone else’s life”, she concludes.


Stand a chance to win a bursary with i-Fundi!

i-Fundi would like to offer a learnership bursary to one deserving person. You are invited to submit a motivational letter of no more than 350 words, motivating why you should be awarded the opportunity to be placed in a learnership with one of the host employers in our database.

Three lucky winners will be announced and placed in a 12 month learnership. The announcement will be made on Monday, August 31, 2015. i-Fundi staff will be in contact with the three winners who best motivated their reasons why they should be selected as winners.

Email the motivational letter to: nyeleti@i-fundi.com.