The impact of internship programme on skills development in the South African public institutions : are internships still relevant?

10 Oct 2019

Skills shortage remains one of the challenges of the 21st century in developing countries like South Africa. It is for this reason that a skills development programme such as internship programme has been adopted by South African public and private institutions to enhance skills development, knowledge and experience. Internship programme is one of the programmes targeting a specific group of people. As contemplated by Cabinet in December 2002, internship is a public service graduate work experience programme targeting unemployed graduates aged between 18-35 years. The paper intended to assess the impact of internship programme on skills development. Secondary to the aim, the article looks into the relationship between internship programme and skills development. Lastly, the challenges and opportunities for internship programme were also brought forward. The paper is purely theoretical and collected literature through articles, books, newspapers, internet and other readily available sources with a view of attempting to forge and comprehend how internship programme can be strengthened particularly in public institutions for achieving the main objectives of the programme. The study found that, in general internships have impact on skills development even though some interns are not necessarily satisfied with the monthly stipend as the money is too little while others claim not to be satisfied with the nature of duties they are expected to perform during work hours, as some of the tasks does not add any value on skills development. In addition to the findings, some interns highlighted that they are not sure who exactly their mentor is since there are many different mentors who coordinate and supervise them. The paper concludes that there is a need to clear the confusion on the issue of many different mentors supervising interns. Furthermore, revise the nature of duties interns do, interns should be given tasks that will develop them.