Former President Nelson Mandela once said: “The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation.”
Since our last newsletter was sent out in June, civic-minded South Africans have witnessed, in horror and sadness, the shockwaves occurring around KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng in the form of the recent unrest and looting incidents. We have also witnessed the more positive aftermath, in which citizens and communities across the country banded together to play their part in supporting the government in its rebuilding efforts, rather than in tearing down and destroying.
At Networks Unlimited, we have always felt very strongly about creating sustainable skills development initiatives so we can play our own role, through job creation, in building South Africa. We have therefore been invested for many years in supporting skills development for young people in the ICT arena, through our internal internship programmes. These offer young people the training and on-the-job experience they need to create a career for themselves.
We are currently nurturing the talents of four young interns across three different areas of the business. Each intern follows a well-structured and ably-mentored 12-month programme, designed so that each intern can graduate at the end of the period as a young person who is fully enabled to follow through with the next step: getting a job that will allow them to move forward into a career in their chosen area of the IT industry. Through education and training, we thus play our role in true empowerment.
Our current interns began at different times during 2021, namely January, March, June and July, in areas that include our marketing department, the IT department and the networking division. Each intern is carefully mentored and their learning programme is divided into manageable time phases, with key deliverables set out within each time frame, ensuring that regular feedback is given through both formal and informal meetings along the way. Exams are written, as might be required, within the different areas of the business.
We asked each of our interns for commentary.
Zweli Nkosi is an IT support intern who began working for Networks Unlimited in January this year. He is responsible for setting up and configuring laptops for new employees, as well as assisting users with IT support throughout Africa, both hardware and software related. He comments, “I feel so happy seeing my theoretical varsity modules come into practice. It’s amazing to have a supporting team that makes it possible to overcome daily challenges.”
Hemilton Matlhaba began as an internal account manager in the networking and storage business unit in July. He explains, “My role is to support the product manager. I am responsible for ensuring that quotations of products supplied to our partners are professional and sent timeously. I also manage all our partners’ details on our customer relationship management (CRM) system, and keep our CRM pipeline up-to-date.”
Khomotso Mahkura and Keletso Mogashoa are both interning in the marketing department, having started in March and June respectively. Khomotso clarifies, “I’m a marketing intern in the networking and storage business unit. A day in my life as a marketing intern involves communicating with vendors and product managers to ensure that, as a team, we run successful marketing activities with our partners and their customers. Working with the vendors in my business unit has broadened my perspective of how marketing and branding intertwines. What I love most about my job is the amazing team that I work with and the ability to learn something new every day.”
Keletso adds, “I’m a marketing intern in the cybersecurity business unit. With the world being more digitalised, cybersecurity has never been as crucial as it is right now. My role as a cybersecurity marketing intern is making businesses recognise the importance of cybersecurity, providing them with unique campaigns, and assisting in driving new opportunities while increasing their pipeline. It can be a challenge for a person new to the IT industry. Networks Unlimited’s environment has provided me with a space to grow and learn while helping me express my creativity and innovativeness.”
And so, in conclusion, I’d like to add that, through the support and the structure that we are giving our interns, we trust that Zweli, Hemilton, Khomotso and Keletso will be able to further their careers at the end of their internship programmes and continue going from strength to strength. I think we can also see, very clearly from their comments above, that they are already well on their way towards embracing a strong and empowered future in the IT arena.
In this way, Networks Unlimited continues to play its role in unlocking South Africa’s potential and building our country, both now and in the future.
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