28 October 2022

These internships were made possible through a collaboration between UMP and the Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP-SETA), which is mandated to promote and facilitate the delivery of education, training and development in order to enhance the skills profile of the Education, Training and Development (ETD) sector and contribute to the creation of employment opportunities especially for those previously disadvantaged.

Teacher graduate, Busisiwe Ntimba, is among the 25 students who have been placed within this programme, which is a partnership between various stakeholders within the education sector. 

Ntimba, an only graduate in her family, is on top of the world about the opportunity. She believes the internship is a foundation for her to be trained and fulfil her childhood dream – becoming a foundation phase teacher and giving her the experience she needs to secure her a job one day.

“I will grasp every opportunity for learning that comes my way,” she says, adding that the learning opportunity will enrich and allow her to develop and grow in her profession.

“To be part of this awesome programme means that the future ahead is brighter than what meets the eye, I am forever grateful. I intend to make use of the opportunity that will help me earn a living.”

She added: “As an individual who is from a deprived background where we survive by selling vegetables, this opportunity has brought light to my family as I will be able to put food on the table. I view this opportunity as an escape from poverty. The experience I am now exposed to through this placement is enormous.”

Ntimba graduated cum laude with 27 distinctions in May this year, and throughout her time at UMP has won multiple cash prizes because of her stellar academic record.

Zanele Khumalo says she will take care of her family financially. 

“I continue to learn as each day passes by. It is through this placement that my experience of standing in front of learners grows and it helps build courage. It is through this placement that my hard work and devotion get noticed so I reach greater heights in the near future.”

UMP Organisational Development Senior manager, Mr Patrick Molelekwa Rachidi facilitated the programme with UMP Programme Leader: BEd Foundation Phase Teaching, Dr Metse Juliet Masalesa.

Mr Rachidi says the university partnered with the ETDP-SETA to place student teachers in local schools so that they get trained and gain professional experience.

“In a highly competitive labour market, graduates need exposure to the workplace in order to improve their employability and general professional and life skills. Since the interns will also be receiving a monthly stipend, this will also present them with an opportunity to learn financial management skills,” he says.

Zanele Angela Khumalo from Piet Retief in Mpumalanga is another graduate who was placed at a local school. She says: “I finished my studies in 2021 and have been applying for work and received nothing until this opportunity presented itself.”

Khumalo is a breadwinner at home and plans to use this opportunity to learn more outside the classroom.

“This placement has brought peace to my life. As someone the family was looking up to, I had to come up with a plan to put food on the table. I was selling scones and God saw my hard work and rewarded me with this internship,” she adds.

“I will be receiving a stipend monthly. It also helps me professionally because I will also gain experience from more knowledgeable teachers who give me a chance to interact with the learners and put what I studied into good use, gain experience and help me to grow my professional network.”

More recently, there has been an influx of teacher graduates and schools do not have enough capacity to absorb them as most teaching positions are currently held by 50- to 60-year-olds who are set to retire in the next five to 10 years. In addition, teacher graduates can be without work for up to five years.

Mr Rachidi believes that the partnership brings with it the hope that more unemployed graduates will be placed in the not-so-distant future.

@ Story Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures supplied.