A South African start up hopes to address SA’s youth unemployment. SA has the third highest unemployment rate in the world for people between the ages of 15 to 24, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Risk 2014 report. The report estimates that more than 50% of young South Africans between 15 and 24 are unemployed.
It estimated that there are around 600 000 unemployed graduates in South Africa. Whilst 25% of the country is unemployed, up to 70% of people under the age of 35 are not working.
Internfit, an online internship portal aims to help students and graduates connect with employers. It was developed by two university students who understood first-hand the problems that graduates face in finding work experience.
On the initiative, David Feinberg, the founder of Internfit, said “South Africa’s high youth unemployment rate is extremely concerning. Only around 12% of South Africans have a tertiary education. One would imagine that in a skills-starved economy they are in high demand, but unfortunately finding an internship can be an extremely frustrating experience for both employers who get many requests and for the students who often have to contact each company individually.”
Feinberg continues, “Traditionally corporates have been the main employer of interns. We have had a number of start-ups as well as small and medium sized businesses also making more use of interns. 90% of internships listed on our site are filled successfully. Businesses struggling with their work load should consider interns to ease the pressure as this is an extremely cost effective approach.”
Internfit has around 6000 students and graduates available nationally for positions. These graduates have qualifications in IT, marketing, finance/accounts and graphic design amongst others and they are all university or college educated.
Annabel Dallamore of start-up Stock Shop comments, “We gave Internfit very specific requirements regarding our intern needs and they provided the exact candidates we were looking for. We now use Internfit as the sole service provider for all our intern sourcing needs.”
Internship positions on internfit may be paid or unpaid depending on the employer. Sometimes an employer offers only an allowance for food and/or travel which is around R2 000 – R3 000 a month. Those that are paid are offered in the region of R8 000 to R10 000. The amount paid and whether to pay depends on the sector and what the intern has studied. Businesses can take advantage of the Employment Tax Incentive. The incentive is to employ young people aged between 18 and 29 by offering a government subsidy of up to 50% on salaries of R6000 or less.
An internship is a way that a final year student or a recent graduate can gain work experience and learn to implement what he or she has studied. Companies benefit because they are able to hand pick talent and they are able to train and retain future industry leaders.
Internfit is free for interns. Rates start at only R400 to fill internship positions for employers.