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Every socially responsible company is familiar with internships, but how do you make the initiatives worthwhile, for the candidates, the participating business and the industry at large?  

This point became all too apparent after adopting a speed-dating approach to interviewing the candidates, whereby leaders at the company and other selected employees spent ten minutes with a standard set of questions for each of the candidates.

The company was impressed on two fronts in particular. The first of these was their capacity to think far outside the normal constraints that even seasoned professionals are limited by, and secondly by their personal stories.

A common thread that ran through all our candidates was that they really care about the country. They see IT and technology as a way of changing where they live.18 candidates were invited for an interview, the company ended up selecting ten, almost double the six interns it was initially going to take on.

However, the internship, which is the company’s first intensive 12-month program, was not another typical checklist exercise whereby candidates end up returning home with little to show for it at the end of its duration.

Rather, the interns are trained up on Software AG’s tools and tasked with solving real world problems.

The theme for the internship – Modernisation – will see the participants being taught a current and highly relevant approach to Software AG’s Adabas & Natural solutions. This is essential to the company, as most of the technicians familiar with it are near retirement age. However, with new professionals developing core competency with Adabas & Natural, Software AG can assure its customers that the toolset will continue to be supported until 2050 and beyond.  

Kholiwe Makhohliso, VP and Country Managing Director who is the executive sponsor of the graduate programme, said, “The goal with this programme was not just to develop talent within the industry, we were also mindful about how the programme should be structured so that it speaks to skills development in the country to ensure true transformation.” 

She adds that the company’s commitment includes placing two of its senior team members as custodians of the programme. “Ndazi Nokoane, Head of Transformation is responsible for ensuring the successful execution of the transformation programme…. and Patrick Shields our CTO, Global Alliances & Channels.

They will ensure that the programme’s curriculum holds both the technical requirements as well as providing mentorship to the students.

The success of the first internship program that the company conducted last year, with 100% of the interns finding a placement, bodes well for the future of this year’s interns.

Software AG highlights how a successful internship programs can be in addressing the assertion by some in the tech industry that they can’t find talent.

Software AG continued to say, “To bridge this gap, we are aiming to offer not just technical training but professional training as well, with entails soft skills like communication, conflict resolution and problem solving.

Our ultimate aim with our internships is to create rounded young professionals who shine in front of a prospective employer.