How To Choose The Right Internship Opportunity In South Africa

It is no secret that finding a job can be pretty stressful, and graduates or nearly-graduates carefully consider their career options. To a great extent, your field of study determines your career path, but the specifics will depend on a healthy mix of passion and talent.

You can discover exciting career options waiting to be explored when your skills and interests cross paths. You can explore these options during an internship; see it as a stepping stone to your dream career. Here are some tips on choosing the right internship in South Africa.

How To Choose The Right Internship Opportunity In South Africa

Before You Choose An Internship Here Are Some Questions You Should Ask

  • Would you like to work for a large or small organization?
  •  Would you consider relocating for the internship?
  • What would you prefer to intern in – your field of study or something else to broaden your horizons?
  • Are you willing to travel abroad for your internship?
  • Would you prefer working in a corporate environment or an informal one?
  • How will the internship help you develop your skills?
  • What is the maximum amount of time you can spend on an internship?
  • Are you going to receive academic credit for the internship?
  • What are the benefits of the internship for your future career?

Internships And Apprenticeships: What’s The Difference?

An internship is a way for interns to gain insight into how an industry or profession works and find out more about that industry without committing to a permanent position. Additionally, interns will gain more confidence, improve their interpersonal skills, and better understand the working world with an internship. SETA learnerships (sometimes also known as SETA internships) are some of the most popular opportunities in South Africa, these are aligned against the National Qualifications Framework (NFQ).

In contrast, an apprenticeship is a formally structured program of on-the-job and classroom-based training that teaches the apprentice the skills as well as tools needed for a particular profession. A career in that particular industry will also be equipped with tangible skills taught to the apprentice. As a rule, an apprenticeship lasts between one and six years as opposed to an internship, which usually lasts less than a year. Apprenticeships tend to pay less since the apprentice will be paid as he or she learns. Finally, both internships and apprenticeships offer a path to a career.

Are Unpaid Internships Worthwhile?

It’s common for people to turn down unpaid internships but do your homework first before you follow in their footsteps. Financial incentives may seem tempting, but don’t view them as the end-all and be-all of an internship. The point of an internship isn’t to see how much money you can make but to learn skills and get a foot in the door.

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The Benefits Of Choosing The Right Internship

  • Obtain hands-on experience in the field
  • Acquire new valuable skills
  • Strengthen your leadership abilities and boost your self-confidence
  • Develop some contacts in the industry by taking advantage of the networking opportunity
  • Enhance your employment prospects after graduation
  • Gain insight into your strengths and weaknesses by receiving feedback from a mentor
  • If you succeed in your internship, you may be offered a full-time position
  • Your dream career can begin in the right direction with the right internship

Why Should You Intern In South Africa?

A variety of positions and numerous projects are available to hardworking, focused young professionals in South Africa. You should consider interning in South Africa if you’re eager and willing to learn and grow your professional skills as well as open your eyes to new experiences and new ways of living.

Tips For Getting An Internship

  1. Start Looking Early

For internships, you should check out companies early since larger companies tend to start their application processes earlier than smaller ones, and smaller companies tend to hire closer to the start date. Different learnerships vary in terms of popularity and some may be harder to get into, for example the Netcare learnership for nursing is very competitive.

  1. Get Your Resume And Cover Letter In Order

Make sure that your cover letter is written and that your resume is up to date. You should start your cover letter off with a simple introduction of yourself and why you are interested in this internship, mention why you would like to intern at that company, mention all your relevant experience, and make sure to emphasize your skills. For some learnerships, you might be asked to submit your qualifications or matric results. If you’re worried about not having much experience, keep in mind that you can include things such as work assignments, hackathons, volunteer projects, or other extracurricular activities to make your resume stand out.

  1. Prepare For Interviews

Interview prep is imperative! Be sure to research the company well – what it does, what it’s currently working on, and what its culture is like. Get a sense of what their interview practices are like and what questions they ask to be extra prepared.

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