The DSI-HSRC Internship Programme held its first inaugural DSI-HSRC exit graduation ceremony on 17 November 2023 at Birchwood Hotel, Johannesburg, marking a significant milestone for the interns and their journey towards professional development. The ceremony was attended by an impressive crowd of about 350 people at the venue and 100 virtual participants including the interns, their mentors, host administrators and industry partners, some of whom participated as exhibitors. The graduation ceremony served as a testament to the importance of internships in the Research, Development, and Innovation (RDI) and National System for Innovation (NSI) sectors. The ceremony was a celebration of the interns’ hard work and dedication throughout their internship journey.
It was a moment of pride and accomplishment as each intern walked across the stage to receive their completion certificate. Their internship experiences not only provided them with work-relevant experience in their field but also solidified their passion for pursuing careers in the science, engineering and technology disciplines, and in the humanities and social sciences disciplines. The internship exit graduation ceremony was a symbolic transition from being an intern to becoming a professional within the pool of capable human resources for the public sector, science councils, national research institutions, and industry.
Ms Bongiwe Moni, Head: External Capacity Development & Internships, HSRC, Prof. Sarah Mosoetsa: CEO, HSRC, and Mr Imraan Patel, Deputy Director General at the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), were among the speakers who gave words of wisdom and encouragement during the ceremony. Mr Stewart Ngandu, one of the programme’s research principal investigators presented preliminary results on the research component of the DSI-HSRC Internship Programme that focuses on transitions into the labour market. Mr Angelo Fick: Director of Research at Auwal Socioeconomic Research Institute, a long-serving mentor in the programme, shared his reflections on the journey and experience with the internship programme. Ms Nonhlanhla Vezi, one of the exiting interns, who was hosted at the Mangosuthu University of Technology, also reflected on her experiences and how the programme made it possible for her dream of being an author to be realised. Through the provision of a stipend, she was able to fund and self-publish her first book title: “The Black Graduate in a Corporative World”. She received an Africa Honouree Author’s Award for Best Novel Category.
The graduation ceremony closed off with a screening of pre-recorded videos of a few interns expressing their gratitude for participation in the programme and the impact the internship had on their journey going forward.
Hear some of the bright young minds speak about their experience, and the impact of the programme: