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Building vital capacity for the future

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“With all that I have learnt at tertiary level and at SAEON I am ready to face the professional world.” – Takalani Malotsha
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”My ability to communicate with various stakeholders received a major boost, and I also gained significant experience in different aspects of communications such as corporate communications, branding and marketing.” – Rendani Doizen Khashane

The Human Capital and Knowledge Systems programme run by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in association with the National Research Foundation (NRF), created an internship programme where graduates are given the opportunity to work for a range of participating institutions for a year and gain valuable work experience.

The DST/NRF internship programme has grown over the years, exposing large numbers of interns to work experience that prepares them for the job market. Interns are placed at institutions according to their field of study and are exposed to work practice and/or research through their mentors.

As part of its ongoing commitment to capacity building in the environmental and related sciences, SAEON has established a coaching and training programme for interns at its National Office as well as at its nodes.

This is what the two interns at SAEON’s National Office had to say about their experiences:

Professional career building and personal development

“Working in SAEON was an incredible opportunity and a rewarding experience of professional career building and personal development. The SAEON team was very welcoming and open. The relaxing atmosphere in the office has made my work more enjoyable and fulfilling.

“I learnt so much about data collection using different computer applications such as Lucid Builder for publication on the web. I learnt new concepts such as Botany which added value to my professional experience. I have also learnt much about data collection for research purposes and I have improved my administration, computer, scientific writing and presentation skills. I had a chance to work on developing my writing as well as my technical skills.

“SAEON has taught me dedication, professionalism, wisdom, empathy and perseverance. With all that I have learnt at tertiary level and at SAEON I am ready to face the professional world. This was made possible through the help of my mentor, Michele Walters who mapped the directions to where I am today as a young graduate.

“Finally I would like to thank my mentor Michele Walters and the SAEON staff in general.”

Takalani Malotsha

Life-changing experience

“Being an intern in the DST/NRF 2010/2011 programme has been a life-changing experience and has added value into my career path. Being hosted by SAEON was a wonderful experience; having three mentors was an added bonus.

“I participated in several successful projects, but the highlight of them all must be the 2010 SAEON Summit which was held in Cape Town in October last year and from which I have gained considerable skills in events management.

“Visiting the SAEON Ndlovu and Fynbos nodes has been the experience of a lifetime. Besides all the exhibitions, conferences and the Summit that I have attended, SAEON also gave me the opportunity to work independently with minimum supervision.

“I have gained valuable experience in organising events as well as in office management, coordination, work ethics, discipline and professionalism. Two of my articles were published in SAEON eNews, which improved my writing skills as a Communications Specialist. My ability to communicate with various stakeholders received a major boost and I also gained significant experience in different aspects of communications such as corporate communications, branding and marketing.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the NRF Human Capital programme for providing funding for me to gain substantial experience through various field trips to Phalaborwa and Cape Town. All these field trips have contributed to my career and the experience has been a positive one; challenging but also a chance to learn new skills. Overall it was an awesome experience I will never forget!

“All that I have mentioned above has boosted my mental preparedness, strength and confidence to further my career as a Communications Specialist with enthusiasm and determination.

“I would like to thank the DST/NRF for the financial support and SAEON for providing an experience of a lifetime. All these successes were made possible through the help of my three mentors, Sibongile Mokoena, Dr Amani Saidi and Monako Dibetle who prepared me to become an asset in any organisation that I will soon join as a qualified professional.”

Rendani Doizen Khashane

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