Graduate Placement Programmes – Get Workplace Experience

The success of a business is largely dependent on the talent of its staff. This is a reason why successful companies use graduate programmes as a strategy to attract talented graduates coming out of university and college. Even the biggest and most successful global companies all compete for the same pool of talent and target high achievers.

Graduate programmes have become a means of netting and recruiting high quality graduates for all sorts of professions and jobs. Graduate programmes have become a marketing tool to attract young people with lucrative packages and incentives.

Many of these firms promote their graduate programmes on their websites and by advertising good reasons why their firms are the best to work for. Successful organisations know that if they can attract the right talent they have the opportunity to build a raw recruit into a successful long-term employee. From the graduates point of view an internship or graduate placement within a firm is a fantastic opportunity to get a ‘foot in the door’ of the job market. It gives the student an opportunity to try out the job and the organisation to see if the organisation suits them and fulfils their own expectations for growth and development.

Here are some of the companies providing graduate development in South Africa:

Company Website
Allan Gray
Anglo American
Arcelor Mittal
Aveng Grinaker LTA
Basil Read Bursary (Civil Engineering)
BBD Software Development
Bigen Africa Services
British American Tobacco SA
Deloitte & Touche
Ernst and Young
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr
Coronation Fund Bursary
Mercedes-Benz South Africa
First Rand Trust
RMB Graduate Programme
Ford South Africa
Group Five
Hillary Construction
Impala Platinum
Liberty Group Limited
MTN Graduate Programme
Murray & Roberts Graduate Programme
National Treasury Graduate Programme
Nedbank Graduate Programme
Old Mutual
Palabora Mining Company
Power Group
PPS (dated)
Rand Merchant Bank
Sanlam Graduate Programme
Sappi Graduate Programme
Selati Sugar Graduate Programme
SENTECH Graduate Programme
Siemens Limited Graduate Programme
SKA Graduate Programme
South African Breweries Ltd
Standard Bank
ThyssenKrupp Engineering
Vodacom Graduate Programme
Volkswagen Graduate Programme
WSP Consulting Engineers

A graduate development programme, sometimes called an ‘internship’, ‘work placement’ or ‘work experience programme’, is contractually limited to a fixed period of time, usually between one week and one year in duration. The programme gives the trainee ‘student’ an opportunity to gain practical work experience and gain first-hand knowledge of the professional responsibilities involved in the job. In some professions, such as in the accounting, engineering, law, architecture and medical professions, an internship is mandatory to become fully qualified and to practice within the specific profession.

Graduates compete for a small number of job openings. Getting into a graduate programme is a great way for students to gain valuable work experience and is a ‘stepping-stone’ to a permanent placement and promotion. As an intern you get to prove yourself while working on-the-job. As an intern you get to try out the company to see how you fit in; the company gets to try you out to see how you perform without the disadvantages which come with hiring permanent staff. If you feel that you do not fit the culture then move on to another job. At least you will have gained some experience.

Many Graduate programme target students in their final year of study at University or College and actively recruit these students on campus at a Job Fair. A Job Fair is like speed dating giving students and employers the opportunity to meet with as many potential graduates / employers as possible within a set time limit.

Companies don’t always target the students with the highest marks but most often look for well-rounded candidates who have a decent academic track record and with high employability skills. Highly employable students are usually well-rounded academically and socially, they particpate in sports as well as in  societies, clubs and student activities. Through interaction in these activities they get to demonstrate the team skills, leadership skills and communication skills which are highly valued by employers.