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Twenty-two (22) workplace-ready young graduates mainly with knowledge of the tourism and hospitality industry will be released onto the jobs market today, 31 March 2022.

Four years ago, the young men and women commenced a two-year internship programme with Tourism KwaZulu-Natal that extended onto another two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. During this period, they gained valuable experience and expertise.

The graduates have learnt the ropes in tourism information, tourism development, destination marketing, public relations and communications; research and development; supply chain management; human resource management; financial administration; executive office management, as well as business events bidding and hosting.

Phindile Makwakwa, Acting CEO of Tourism KZN, said internships are offered to help close the country’s skills gap. “The hands-on work experience that trainees receive is invaluable and cannot be achieved in the classroom, making it one of the most important benefits of internships.

“Tourism KZN has invested in 22 graduates for four years, ensuring they acquire on-the-job experience and knowledge whilst also gaining softer skills like professionalism, leadership and communicating effectively. 

“On the job, exploring is an important part of work experience, and internships are a great way for graduates to familiarise themselves with the field they are interested in.

“Although our internship programme does not guarantee employment at TKZN, I am pleased and proud to say that some of our former interns have been fully employed in government departments and in the private sector. Over the years, Tourism KZN has also employed some of our former interns through a competitive recruitment process. This speaks to the quality of experience that they gain through our internship programme,” she said.

Makwakwa said many businesses use internships as a means of improving their recruitment efforts and even if a job offer does not occur immediately, an intern who makes a favourable impression may receive an offer down the line when an opening occurs.         

Amanda Ngcobo, who attained a Diploma in Eco-Tourism Management from the Durban University of Technology, has been an intern with TKZN’s Tourism Development department which promotes responsible tourism destination development and contributes towards transformation of KwaZulu-Natal’s tourism sector.

“Tourism KZN gave me the opportunity to work in and out of the office where we helped uplift several communities within KZN. I learnt that there are hidden tourism attractions around the province, and I was lucky enough to experience being part of steering committees of big tourism development projects.

““I assisted with feasibility studies for new projects and worked closely with SMMEs, linking them up with business support programmes,” she said.

Khajal Kramlal, a B.Soc.Sc. Psychology and B.Soc.Sc. Hons Industrial Psychology graduate from the University of KwaZulu-Natal said apart from developing confidence and people skills, the four-year internship at Tourism KZN helped her develop the necessary professional skills to become a successful human resources practitioner.

“I worked alongside great mentors receiving continuous support and encouragement and was given many opportunities to learn and grow at TKZN,” she said.

Noluvuyo Matshoba graduated with a Diploma in Public Relations Management from the Nelson Mandela University and has been an intern in the Public Relations and Communications department that drives Tourism KZN’s communications aimed at enhancing a positive destination image.

“It has been an amazing experience and I learnt about stakeholder management, events support and had the opportunity of traveling to many parts of the beautiful province of KZN,” she said.

Savuma Mchunu, a Bachelor of Arts: Culture and Heritage Tourism graduate from the University of KwaZulu-Natal completed his four-year internship in the Convention Bureau department which focuses on the bid for business events nationally and internationally.

Mchunu said he gained a vast amount of experience and had the opportunity to work in a corporate environment.

“I also learnt how to network and engage with different people in the events industry and co-ordinating business events,” he said.

Tourism KZN receives a voluminous number of applications from their highly publicised recruitment agency. TKZN is in the process of interviewing candidates for the 2022-2024 internship.

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