Bridgestone Southern Africa’s graduate development programme, in partnership with the Yes4Youth programme since 2020, says it has managed to place 42 out 151 graduates within the company thanks to a comprehensive internship.
Botaki Hlalele, the head of talent at Bridgestone Southern Africa, said the firm was committed to supporting the government’s drive to reduce unemployment by providing the work experience the youth needed to stand out in the competitive jobs market.
“But being able to absorb a significant proportion of these young people into the company is particularly gratifying because it gives us a chance really to get their careers started,” Hlalele said.
A former Yes4Youth intern who was given a permanent position offered some insight into what that meant.
Ayanda Edwin Letsapa, an engineering graduate from Sebokeng, was appointed as a maintenance planner in September last year, then became a shift engineer. Since becoming a permanent employee he has been given the opportunity to improve his technical and communication skills.
“Above all, I am gaining more confidence in the engineering and operations field,” Letsapa said. “I am more driven and have developed a positive attitude.”
Sharing what he had learnt over the past few months, Letsapa said interns should concentrate on learning how to perform the basic tasks in the departments in which they find themselves. This approach laid the foundation for further advancement and meant that the intern was in a position to engage with their superiors on a professional level.
His most important advice was that the onus was on the intern to ensure they got ahead.
“You have to be willing to approach your superiors to ask for work, ask questions, come up with solutions to current challenges or suggest improvements,” he said. “If you are seen to add value to the business, you are much more likely to be offered a permanent position. Always remember: your superiors are not responsible for your career – you are!”