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Business Tech

Getting interns into manufacturing

Syspro is equipping young talents with the skills they need to thrive in a sector that is under pressure, writes JASON BANNIER.

Manufacturing has taken a beating in South Africa, with employment in the sector declining by 5,8% quarter-on-quarter. Many companies are looking for ways to restore the health of both the sector and employment rates. One of the rate success stories has emerged from Syspro, which introduced the latest graduates from its internship programme to the media last week.

“There has been a massive decline in manufacturing and distribution employment rates, because of factors like loadshedding”, says Syspro professional services manager Marius Wessels.

A leading global provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solutions specialising in the manufacturing and distribution industries, Syspro has been growing an internship program for the past seven years. In 2023 it took on 20 interns, more than twice that of the previous year, to provide them with necessary skills for the industry. 

More than 100 interns have been trained since the start of the program, of which 91% have been absorbed into the manufacturing and distribution industry – with 60% retained by Syspro or the Syspro ecosystem.

Syspro CEO Mark Wilson pointed out that 3,7-million people between the ages of 15-24 were not in education, employment or training. 

“There is a phenomenal skillset of resources crying out for work in South Africa,” he said.

“Our message is to be a part of that small piece of a bigger puzzle to make a difference in society”. 

He underscored the importance of internship programs in combatting the high rates of youth unemployment, specifically in the manufacturing and distribution sector. 

Syspro’s 8-month internship program consists of classroom training for 5 months, job shadowing within Syspro for 2 months, and partner/customer placement for 2 months.

The programme prepares interns for the professional workplace by teaching them important skills, offering valuable hands-on experience, and nurturing essential soft skills. This well-rounded approach equips interns to secure employment and start contributing to the economy.

Syspro is currently also partnering with the Nelson Mandela University, University of Johannesburg, and MICT SETA.  

Interns who had graduated from the programme gave their response to their experinece at last week’s event:

  • Syspro employee Ntongase Malinga: “I appreciate the professional and personal support provided by the phenomenal guardians that guided us step-by-step to help us grow into the young professionals that we are today.”
  • CBH employee Sizwe Ntoli.: “The program instilled confidence in me, and taught me additional critical workplace skills that I use every day, like presentation skills and patience.”
  •  iOCO employee Tristan Singh: “The amazing experience during the internship builds well-rounded individuals for the workforce, and after completing it I had 9 job interviews and 9 job offers.”

Said Syspro global marketing and PR leader Fotini De Keizer: “We care about our people, our customers, and our interns”.

* For more information, visit the Syspro website here.

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