Armed with a university degree, young 30-year-old Itumeleng Mokoena was confident that her three years of study would finally pay off with a lucrative job. But her high hopes and dreams were short lived when six months after graduating she still found herself walking up and down the streets of Johannesburg in search of the elusive pot of gold.
But her luck changed when one day, while submitting many of her job applications at the Gauteng Shared Services Centre, she came across an advert that the Gauteng Office of the Premier was looking for interns.
After receiving many rejection letters before, she was not hopeful but decided to give it a shot.
To her amazement, she was called for an interview and a few weeks later she found herself walking down the corridors at the office of Gauteng's number one citizen.
Mokoena said that the one-year programme opened doors for her as she is now employed permanently at the national Department of Water Affairs.
"You can imagine my joy and relief at being afforded an opportunity to acquire the much-needed skills and experience. Through the internship I was able to put into practice what I had learned at university," says Mokoena.
"As a province, we believe that it is important to provide experiential learning to unemployed graduates in order to enhance their chances of being successfully employed," said Head of Communications for the Gauteng Provincial Government Matlakala Motloung.
"We also give these young graduates an opportunity to prove themselves, gain experience and increase their chances of being absorbed into the public service."
Another inspirational story is that of 30-year-old Sydwell Mabasa, who also started as an intern and now works permanently at the Presidency. Mabasa said the internship was a great experience which helped him understand how his acquired skills fitted into the world out there.
"I found out about the internship from a security officer at a government department, where I was doing one of my regular visits to check if they were looking for interns. This method of application was tiring, but healthy, since it encouraged me to walk a lot," said Mabasa with a smile.
"I had learned that it was not enough to simply depend on newspaper adverts, as the money to buy a newspaper meant great sacrifices and more strain on my already compromised pocket." He said the internship has helped him to be where he is now, because, as a new graduate, he was not fully equipped to survive in the corporate world without experience.