The findings from over 10,000 student survey responses helped to gauge sentiment and willingness to engage in virtual internship options. Honoris responded with agility and chose to run a pilot program, partnering with the global platform Virtual Internships, an EdTech start-up that was established in 2018. Working with Virtual Internships meant the Honoris team could implement the solution much quicker than building an in-house product.
The pilot involved participants from every market in the Honoris network, with every region taking part to some extent. The next challenge was to scale the solution across the region to enable even more students to access virtual internship opportunities.
Furthermore, the team is also looking to measure the long term impacts of internships on employability, not only in terms of placements and eventual job offers, but also the skills gained and the impact of the experience as graduates pursue their careers.
To put this project in motion, an Honoris ‘employability squad’ was formalized with the collaboration of leaders across key markets of Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa and Nigeria. A total of 69 pilot virtual internship placements were made in 2021, each lasting between one and three months.
Meet Nthabiseng, one of our MANCOSA alumni who benefited from the Virtual Internship Program. Nthabiseng has the following to say about her experience:
“Being an alumnus of a university that is in partnership with Honoris Universities has finally paid off for me. I studied for an MBA at MANCOSA in 2011 and graduated in 2015. As a MANCOSA Alumni, I would regularly receive emails from MANCOSA enquiring about how my career was progressing, as well as receiving updates on the school’s initiatives.
I recently made a decision to change my career direction and resigned from my job which called for a proper self-reflection and taking time off allowed me to do just that. Just when I knew I was ready to step into a new career but didn’t have any experience in the field; I received an email invitation from MANCOSA to apply for the Virtual Internship Programme. I thought to myself “this would be great for me to change careers without formal classroom education”. I was absolutely right. One of the perks of the internship was that it would take place overseas which meant it would give me remote working experience and global employability status, which I now have thanks to this programme. I wanted to be placed with a South Korean company because I love South Korea’s work ethic; and this opportunity thrilled me beyond words. I learned to become a content writer/editor and marketer through the internship; all skills that are very high in demand and that allow flexible working hours. MANCOSA once again came through, I am so amazed. I received so much care and follow up from the agency that was in charge of my placement and I was guided at every stage of this journey with weekly check points. After a month of attending the internship, I received an offer to continue for another two months and I was delighted to grab the opportunity. Ever since my internship I have received recognition from other overseas companies and I am still continuing to gain more recognition. Thank you MANCOSA and Honoris!”
"I was placed at an Indian company, Kranti, as the outreach communication associate. The company an NGO that help girls in the Mumbai red light areas to become agents of social change. During my internship, I was able to learn a lot about the NGO and it has also been my dream to intern or work in an NGO. My internship enabled me to improve my communication skills and intercultural fluency, as my supervisor is Indian and I am Nigerian so there are cultural gaps I was able to fill during the internship, as well as time management. I was also able to complete some projects which included creating a module relating to Nurturing Hope in Difficult Times. Overall, this has been an exciting and fulfilling experience of meeting new professionals and learning about a field I am passionate about."
"The Virtual Internship is the perfect environment for students to grow and be empowered. It gives you the chance to assess your current skills and gain new ones, so that you get ready for the work market not only locally but also internationally. In a short time, I have already started learning how to organise my schedule to get all the tasks done on time while working remotely.I've also got the opportunity to collaborate with foreign supervisors, and to integrate into their industry. In addition to this, I was lucky to share this great experience with a co-intern, so that we could exchange our competencies.
Finally as a helpful part of the journey, I was able to enhance my soft skills thanks to the precious tips provided by the Career Bridge platform, as much as the support of my IEM, so even with working from home I am never left alone. Now I feel more confident and much more open minded, I would have absolutely regretted not seizing this opportunity!"