The needs of the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector lies at the heart of the Graduate Asset Programme (GAP), an innovative new internship initiative that is the brainchild of Fetola, a Cape Town-based enterprise development agency.
The vision of GAP is to match skilled, bright young graduates with appropriate SMEs who would benefit from their skills. This match-making is designed to bolster the growth of the SME sector in South Africa, and drive employment and work readiness training for thousands of the country's unemployed graduates.
Fetola founder and director, Catherine Wijnberg, remarked: "We are delighted to introduce and launch GAP as an exciting SME-focussed initiative.
"The future of South Africa's economy lies in the small business sector, as this is where the potential for job growth is highest. By matching SMEs to our other great asset, the wealth of capable but unemployed South African graduates, we hope to drive a revolution in internships and get South Africa working," she explained.
24,000 internships over three years
GAP hopes to place 24,000 graduates into internships over the next three years, and encourage the successful conversion of 30% of these into longer-term employment opportunities in approximately 8500 SMEs.
The programme is supported by Old Mutual and the Presidential JobsFund.
Eminent Free State University educationalist and thought leader, Professor Jonathan Jansen, has also endorsed GAP as an effective and practical graduate employment initiative. "GAP is a powerful way in which Business and Education can work together to build our nation," he remarked.
GAP is powered by a simple and user-friendly web platform whose mechanics are loosely based on those of online dating sites, where matches between parties are made based on selected preferences and profiling. The intention is to help the business owner find the most suitable internship candidate in the shortest possible time.