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Standard Bank offers virtual internships across Africa

The free initiative aims to help students gain practical skills and experience that mirrors the work they will do in the world of banking

Standard Bank is launching a new virtual internships initiative to help students gain practical skills and experience that mirrors the work they will do in the world of banking. The bank says it is supporting access to inclusive, quality education and lifelong learning opportunities, “helping Africa harness the opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution”.

Standard Bank’s Virtual Experience Programmes provide access to critical components of workplace experience by way of content, case studies and assessments. There are no due dates for the programmes, registration is free for students, and they are open to all.

The first self-paced programmes, which only take roughly five hours to complete, offer video-guided training for skills in job searching, business communication and networking, personal branding, interview preparation, and more. Once completed successfully, students then receive certificates that they can add to their resumes.

From August, students will also be able to enrol in programmes covering retail and investment banking, software development, engineering, and data science.

South Africa’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey from the fourth quarter of 2021 showed that as many as 51.6% of the 7.9 million unemployed persons had education levels below matric. And with 6.5 million unemployed youth (individuals aged between 16 and 35), youth unemployment clearly remains one of South Africa’s most pressing socio-economic challenges. Furthermore, -only 35% of youth who seek formal employment opportunities are able to be absorbed into sustainable job opportunities.

Maymoona Ismail, head of youth development at Standard Bank South Africa, says: “Many young individuals take up opportunities without a clear understanding of the industry or what skills their jobs will require, and the Virtual Experience Programmes aim to bridge this gap between education and industry.”

As an organisation deeply committed to driving the growth of Africa’s young talent, Standard Bank hopes to reach young individuals who are unable to access formal job opportunities and provide a virtual experience that equips them with skills to become more employable. Through its dedicated Youth Development and Employment (YDE) unit, Standard Bank is leading a series of initiatives to educate and upskill young people. These include the Virtual Experience Programmes, promoting micro-enterprises, learnerships, and internships.

Ismail says: “Access to education is critical to unlocking the full potential of today’s youth, and we are wanting to supplement their studies with insights that will allow young people to make more informed study and career decisions that lead to job creation. We want to empower young individuals with the right skills that are required in the modern world of work. The Virtual Experiences Programmes now enables young individuals – whether they know how they want to use their existing qualifications or they’re still exploring – to access quality training, industry insights, and certification completely online and at no cost.”

The Virtual Experience Programmes include the following:

  • Accessing Work Opportunities (Live)
  • Getting Ready for the World of Work (Live)
  • Retail Banking (Live in August)
  • Investment Banking (Live in August)
  • Software Development (Live in August)
  • Engineering (Live in August)
  • Data Science (Live in August)

To learn more about Standard Bank’s Virtual Experience Programme, or sign up for free, visit

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