Leadership starts at home according to Intel. In the case of large corporates, no other statement expresses this with more clarity, especially during a month where the youth take centre stage in South Africa. Intel is doing just that with their successful internship programme, which country manager for South Africa, Videsha Proothveerajh, refers to as the ‘engine to power a strong workforce’.
In 2009 Intel South Africa introduced an internship programme for exactly this reason and has jump -started the careers of young South Africans both is Sales and Marketing roles as well as in the technical roles with the belief that this not only creates a pipeline of skilled employees for Intel but for the whole ICT industry as well in South Africa
Ms Proothveerajh believes the secret to cultivating young, successful and innovative leaders in the highly competitive South African technology industry, is in the creation of a sustainable cycle of consistent mentoring. “Giving the youth the chance in the first place to add the title ‘up-and-coming leader’ to their portfolio is the cornerstone to growing and developing any organisation’s leadership structures. In essence, a wheel of empowerment is created. Great businesses need great people whose energy and ideas inspire the next wave of visionary leaders – especially on senior level.”
During times when there are literally thousands of often confusing streams of messages clogging our digital airwaves, self-belief is critical to stay the course, and internships provide the perfect vehicle for establishing a platform of self-belief through experience. The only way young people can truly believe in themselves is if they are empowered in such a way to garner experience in their chosen field of study. Ms Proothveerajh says, at Intel, interns are encouraged to think outside the box constantly to stay ahead in the always changing world of technological innovation.
21 year old Meruska Moodley Intel South Africa’s intern for Marketing and PR says ‘ In my six months with Intel I have not only learned to understand the marketing and PR in the ICT industry over and above that I have come to discover myself in the workplace, I understand my strengths and development areas. My mentors have really guided me and I now realise that university has equipped me with the knowledge and here at Intel I have been given a platform develop the skills and discover my own self-belief in what I can achieve. I feel I can only grow further from here’
As empowered youth leaders, our interns respond to setting goals that constantly stretch them and keep them interested. You’ve got to get them thinking about how your business can do things better, provide far better value, never be satisfied with the status quo, never give up. In this way its becomes a two way processors where in return they inspire us at Intel to never be complacent and to continue to innovate for the consumers of tomorrow”
“Great leaders grow other leaders,” Ms Proothveerajh ardently explains. “At the end of the day one leader alone simply won’t do the trick, you’ve got to have what is known as ‘leadership bench strength’. As one of the recognised best companies to work for, our mentors at Intel have unrestricted access to inspire and drive their people in the way they think best to power a new generation of leaders.”