Work in progress

Many companies are offering internship programmes to learners and IT graduates in order to get them trained and employable.

Skills remain a key issue for South Africa’s CIOs, according to ITWeb Brainstorm’s annual CIO Survey which polls top execs across all major industry sectors. But in 2105’s survey, a positive note emerged: many more organisations are offering learnership and internship programmes than before. In 2014, only 31% said their companies ran internship programmes, while in 2015 the number went up to 57%, nearly double.
Many IT vendors and service providers have their own skills development and internship initiatives, and those run in partnership with employers in particular seem to be making excellent headway.

Oracle SA
Oracle’s graduate programme is an intensive one. The learner is given mentors and is skilled-up over a (generally) 12-month long period, and integrated into the company as if they were a full-time employee. The company doesn’t just offer the technical side or the studying part of learning, it takes the learner in, and gears them up to be employable within their area of skill, whether at Oracle or elsewhere.

IBM offers an assortment of internships each year, across its various business fields, including IT lab services consultancy, software development, and mechanical engineering.

DVT has a learnership programme focused on business and software development skills, particularly in previously disadvantaged communities.

Khanyisa Real Systems (KRS)
KRS, a Microsoft Partner software development company based in Cape Town, runs a self-funded internship for 12 developers each year. It starts with classroom training for two months. The interns are treated as people on projects, using agile processes, but in a training environment. About half of the trainees are taken into KRS’ projects, and the rest are placed with clients, such as Alan Grey or Paarl Media.

UCS Technology Services runs an annual internship programme, offering one-year practical and paid work opportunities to IT graduates. The internships are designed to bridge that gap between theory and practice through constructive opportunities for learning and development, and with a view to permanent employment. Internships are offered in departments of UCS TS that both have a need for extra personnel, and that are best situated to retain the intern.

Business Connexion
Business Connexion has an annual graduate internship programme, and for 2016 it is reserving 50% of the positions for candidates with disabilities. The Business Connexion Graduate Internship Programme is an eight-month training and development programme aimed at recent graduates with no working experience and a passion for making the impossible possible through technology. Successful candidates are assigned to one of the company’s business areas.

Red Hat
Red Hat, Obsidian Systems and CTU recently launched the first Red Hat learnership in SA.
Over 12 months, twenty students are trained as open source professionals, specialising in Red Hat’s open source software. The programme incorporates six months of theory with six months of practical work, which is divided into three months working for Obsidian, and three months working for external clients, and is aimed at matriculants who do not have the funding needed to embark on a career path.

As part of its local internship programme for graduates that was introduced in 2012, Wipro, a global IT, consulting and outsourcing company, has enrolled 170 graduates in South Africa to date. This initiative is designed to stimulate an interest in technology among the shallow ICT skills pool in South Africa. The company says the internship programme is becoming a crucial enabler of its growth in Africa. The programme is about nurturing talent for local leadership and ensuring that it has the right people on board – people who understand local culture, local markets and local customers across the African continent.

SYSPRO’s head office runs an internship developer programme every two years, where it takes 10 - 12 tertiary students out of university and pairs them up with a senior developer for coaching over a six-month period. The company has found a direct correlation between students’ math skills and their coding ability, and so expects applicants to have achieved at least a 60% core mathematics mark in their matric finals. Of the total pool of developers at SYSPRO, over 44% of them have been trained within the company, and despite the high IT skilled staff churn rate at most IT companies, almost all of them remain with SYSPRO.

Barclays Africa
Financial services group Barclays Africa will train 126 young developers in SA as part of a skills development internship programme that will run for 12 months. The developers, who come from across Gauteng, will receive training in agile software development at the Barclays Africa digital academy at its headquarters in downtown Johannesburg. The programme will run four intakes of developers over 12 months (30 developers per intake), who will work on practical projects for the majority of the time during their three-month period. They will receive weekly training for best practice in software development on a variety of technology platforms and frameworks.

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