Impact through internships

The impact and importance of Internships in the SA context
SA may have alarming unemployment statistics, but it remains that despite this, we have a talent crisis. Formal internships are recognised as one of the best mechanisms available to stimulate job creation and are an effective means to promote the inclusion of unemployed, inexperienced youth into the formal economy, further bolstering social development. Government has recognised this in incentivising the employment of youth, and business has taken up the challenge.

Back in the middle ages, apprentices were supervised by craft guilds, with master craftsmen employing young people as labour, in exchange for providing food, lodging and formal training in the craft. A formal internship is a much-evolved version of this simple exchange, with the dual purpose of enabling the intern to a bridge the gap between classroom-theory and professional experiential training, whilst enabling the organisation to better understand the interns’ potential to add value back into the organisation over time.

Industry investment
Our educational system has failed many of our young people, and tertiary educational institutions are under huge pressure with students who lack foundational skills. The Wholesale & Retail Seta (W&R SETA) are industry champions and do important, industry-building work in supporting industry players in their endeavors to source and nurture talent, with the goal of building careers and futures. PnS closely collaborates with the W&R SETA across job types, one of which is a graduate internship programme, which has been singularly successful.

The PnS Graduate Internship Program, with three intakes and more than 15 interns onboarded over the previous two years has not only improved the company’s talent pool, but offered invaluable experiences to interns, many of whom admit to the real workings of the industry being a revelation to them.

A stepping-stone to professional excellence
The programme is intended to be more than just a stepping-stone for recent graduates, but a path that has been thoughtfully crafted with the goal of developing young talent into seasoned experts. A blend of hands-on training, mentorship, and exposure to real-world challenges, all within a supportive and inclusive work environment.

Real-world learning and practical perspectives
One of the cornerstones of the program’s success is its emphasis on hands-on learning. Interns are not consigned to the background but are actively involved in initiatives and duties that not only improve their skill sets but boosts their confidence and adaptability.
The role of mentors cannot be overstated. Throughout the internship, each intern is paired with a seasoned expert who leads, advises, and shares information with them. This mentorship goes beyond professional development to enhance personal growth as interns learn insights and personal perspectives from experienced mentors.

A diverse and inclusive environment
Diversity and inclusion are embedded in the culture at PnS Group, and the Graduate Intern Programme is no exception. The organisation believes that diversity of thought drives innovation. By welcoming interns from various backgrounds, the programme cultivates a rich tapestry of ideas and approaches.

A bridge to full-time employment
The success of the programme is not measured solely by the skills interns acquire or the experiences they gain. It is also distinguished by the doors it opens for them. Many interns have transitioned into full-time roles within the organisation, and those who leave, do so more job-ready for what is next for them.

Social impact – delivered
Central to the business’ purpose, PnS makes a difference. GM of Talent and Development Anita Van Den Berg concludes: “As the PnS Group continues to grow and innovate, the Graduate Intern Program remains an important incubator of people potential. We see this as important for our business, but equally important for our corporate citizenship in South Africa. The success of this program demonstrates PnS Group’s dedication to developing talent and providing opportunities for growth. With each new intake, the organisation continues to shape the careers of young professionals and, in doing so, is shaping its own future.”

PnS graduates relate their recent experiences in this showcase video.