Some 555 graduates have been absorbed into the national internship programme since it was started, says the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs.
This number excludes the 132 graduates who have already been employed permanently.
According to the Department of National Internship Programme, all these graduates are active in the public, private, parastatal and non-governmental organisation (NGO) sectors.
Osesenaqa Lekgoko, the ministry’s Assistant Communications Officer, said that this is helping to reduce the unemployment figure among graduates.
Established in August 2008, the programme’s objective is to assign unemployed graduates to different sectors. In that way, it enhances their theoretical education by supplying practical work experience.
Initially, the period of service for the interns was 12 months, but the Government has now extended that to 24 months. The extension is meant to further improve their skills development for them to be more marketable and employable. It also exposes them to the ethics of the corporate world.
Degree holders and Associate Degree or Diploma graduates in scarce skills areas, like law and accounts, are given preference. But the Department is being swamped by mass applications from students who lack the necessary scarce skills qualifications, posing a challenge for those held responsible for placing the graduates.
“Associate Degree or Diploma graduates are not eligible for placement because their chances of furthering their education level are high, while first degree holders who are fresh from university are truly ready for work and their chances of continuing their studies are minimal,” said Lekgoko.