November 29, 2018

Reflecting on the Zenex Foundation Internal Internship Programme by Nduvho Ramulongo

In 2015, the Zenex Foundation launched an internal internship programme to commemorate 20 years of impact-fully driving educational change in South Africa. The objective of the programme was to create opportunities for workplace experience for young people. This programme is directly aligned to the Foundation’s vision which is to have “skilled and empowered young people that can contribute towards the growth, development, and democratisation of the country.” The positions were created to support communications, finance and administration within the organisation. The internship runs for a period of 18-24 months and interns are given an opportunity to learn through a structured work plan developed jointly with their managers.

Since 2015, six interns have successfully completed the programme and have gone on to take up permanent employment and/ or to further studies. The Foundation recruited two new interns in 2018, Asamkele Zimu and Doctor Mahlaule, making it a total of 8 interns since the programme commenced.

Zenex Foundation conducted an evaluation of its internship programme. The purpose of the evaluation was to document lessons from the first two groups and to use the lessons to inform how the programme should be implemented in future. The evaluation found that having an internship programme adds value to the intern and the foundation. It eases the pressure on the team and allows senior staff members to focus on other tasks and saves the organisation money from contracting tasks that the interns are trained in and capable of doing. Interns gain valuable work experience, explore possible career paths while showcasing their skills. They also develop critical soft skills such as a strong work ethic, time management, self-confidence and the ability to accept and learn from criticism.

Following the internal evaluation process and a learning forum amongst staff members to discuss the findings, the foundation welcomed its third intake of interns, namely Asamkele and Doctor.

Asamkele Zimu joined as the Finance and Administration intern. Her professional background includes some work for the Gauteng Treasury as a Budget Analyst, working on the education budget and working as a facilitator for the Institute of Sustainable Risk Management (ISRM) where she facilitated in Occupational Health and Project Management.

Doctor Mahlaule joined Zenex Foundation as the Knowledge Management and Communications Intern. He holds a Diploma in Journalism from Varsity College and a BA Degree in Communication Science from the University of South Africa (UNISA). During his undergrad studies at UNISA, Doctor worked for the Communication Students Association (COMSA) and was elected as the Regional Project Coordinator in 2015. He served for two years and left during his final year to complete his studies. Doctor hopes to become a Communications Officer and says that Zenex is giving him the necessary experience to get there.

Asamkele and Doctor have been with the Foundation for less than six months but they are already contributing meaningfully to the teams that they are placed in. They both hope to have a rewarding and fulfilling experience.

The internal internship programme has been beneficial to Zenex and the interns that have participated. As we welcome Asamkele and Doctor, we look forward to another successful programme of mutual learning and growing.