Address by Deputy Minister Ntombazana Botha, at the launch of DAC internship programme

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22 Nov 2007

Programme Director
CEOs of the DAC Institutions
Guests on honour – Interns
Officials of the DAC & other Government Depts
Distinguished guests
Members of the Media
Ladies and gentleman
 
Good morning!

It is indeed an honour and a privilege for me to launch the Internship Programme of the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC). Yesterday I was interviewed on “Morning Live” and, as could have been expected, I was tongue-tied – probably overwhelmed by the thought that it is finally happening. I am very excited that we too, as the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) and its associated institutions, are going to be making this huge contribution to the skills development programme driven by our government. This is a very significant investment in human capital and I would like to thank all the institutions that are participating in this programme for making it possible.

This Internship Programme was initiated by the DAC Human Resource Management unit and is supported by our Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka who is responsible for driving the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGISA) and the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA).

Incidentally, one of the priorities of the National Skills Development Strategy is to align skills develop­ment with economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation strategies.  Its objective is to assist designated groups, including new entrants to participate in accredited work, integrated learning and work-based programmes to acquire critical skills to enter the labour market and self-employment.

This initiative will also contribute to the National Youth Service by equipping the interns with required skills, so that they can secure permanent employment.

 

I believe that the 89 internship candidates are ready to start working in various institutions tomorrow. I hope that the orientation programme on Tuesday and Wednesday gave them some insights into what opportunities are available in the Arts, Culture and Heritage sector.

Participation in learnership and internship programmes has been identified as one of the key vehicles for rapid skills development in South Africa.  To strengthen the initiative, the Cabinet further mandated every department to enroll (as a minimum) a number of unemployed learners and interns to the equivalent of at least 5% of the establishment.  In terms of the DAC staff complement this would amount to ±30 interns.  The DAC is aware of the need to enter into more partnerships because it is only when expertise, resources and institutional capacities are coordinated and pooled across government, the business sector and, indeed, civil society, that we can succeed and prosper as a country.

We hope that the next intake of interns will be much larger and that DAC will expand the placement of interns to the other institutions and the private sector.

We believe that our approach in the implementation of this programme is all-inclusive and hope to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Increasing awareness on job opportunities in the arts, culture and heritage sector.
  • Instilling a better understanding of the arts, culture and heritage sector as well as the role of arts, culture and heritage in our society.
  • Enabling prospective candidates to make informed decisions on career opportunities in the sector.

The DAC, in partnership with its associate institutions, will ensure that the beneficiaries increase their skills base, employability potential and also ensure that they develop an exist strategy aimed at assisting the interns to identify career opportunities and placement either in the Department and the sector at large.

There are also opportunities for exposure and further training internationally, on the African Continent and abroad, through the Cultural Agreements we have signed with other countries. For example, the United Kingdom has agreed to train curators and only recently Ethiopia trained young men from South Africa in the visual arts.

The target group is unemployed graduates. Preference is given to those that will ensure subsequent replacement of ageing, scarce or rare skills in the sector. The interns should also assist in the transformation of the sector, in addressing the imbalances of the past and creating an environment where there is parity and equal opportunities for all, women and men, black and white, young and old.  This is one of the greatest challenges that we face in the sector.

As the Honourable Deputy President, Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka stated that, “Nothing short of skills revolution by a nation united will extricate us from the crisis we face”, DAC has partnered with its Institutions which is where 80% of the total number of the Interns will be placed.

We urge interns to maximize on the opportunities provided by the DAC and associated Institutions as this will provide a pool of suitable candidates for the placement as appropriate opportunities become available.

I must thank Ms Mandisa Matyila and her team, once again, for the coordination of this programme.   Your hard work and sleepless nights have borne fruit. It is much appreciated by all of us. And to our Communications unit, Mack Lewele and his team, thank you for arranging the media coverage. All of you have done excellent work. Thank you, thank you!

It is now my honour to officially launch the DAC Internship Programme.

Finally, I wish to congratulate all the interns who have been accepted for the first intake. I wish you every success and trust that you will make the best of what you are being offered. I think I must also thank you for making yourselves available. Without you we would not be bragging about a DAC Internship Programme. Your contribution to government’s call to narrow the skills gap is invaluable. With this programme it will be possible to meet our government’s target of halving poverty by 2014. I can assure you that your hard work will pay off, and the skills you will acquire will benefit you for the rest of your life.  Stay focused!

I thank you