Confronted with the growing skills shortage in the ICT industry, Westcon SA has launched the Westcon SA Graduate Programme, making the company the only IT distributor in South Africa to implement a project of this nature.

“To support the growth that Westcon SA is experiencing and aggressively driving, we need to ensure that the correct resources are incorporated into the company. Faced with the ICT skills shortage in SA and within our own company, we made a strategic decision to invest in the industry’s and our own future by developing a graduate programme,” says Ben de Klerk, National Sales Manager of Westcon SA. “The programme will address our resource challenge and will also develop a new skills pool that will mature to actively contribute to the industry.”
The programme not only ensures that participating students find employment; it also educates and equips them with business skills and business sense. The initial six week career development training is strategically aligned with the programme and will introduce the students, all with relevant bachelors degrees, to Weston SA’s business and the IT industry as a whole.
The graduates will, upon completion of the training, be deployed in the Sales and Product Management divisions of the company.  The final stage involves a mentorship programme which serves as a consolidation of the application of all aspects learned.
He says that with students in various universities completing their bachelors degrees in IT and marketing, the company wanted to ensure that these students enter the industry which they were designed to participate in. With the assistance of pre-selected universities, students had to undergo various interviews to determine compliance and acceptance into the programme.
"Internship programmes are invaluable,” De Klerk says. “Often, it is assumed that the graduate or intern will benefit the most, but the company running the Programme also benefits.”
He explains that companies implementing such programmes will have access to a resource pool that is thoroughly assessed. Companies can then take on the intern permanently, eliminating the hassle factor of finding the right candidate for the job. In this way, companies are able to fulfil the investment and development section of the ICT Charter.