“You need experience to get experience.” Schoonbee Landgoed recognizes that this seems to be the prevalent issue for young adults transitioning into the workforce today. It is well known that the employers in today’s labor market rely heavily on resumes that illustrate a relevant work history.
In the agricultural sector, practical background carries a major significance and competitive advantage in addition to academic rigor, especially where people are competing to land that coveted position in an agricultural company.
Schoonbee Landgoed has a great culture and passion to develop and grow their people. They recognize the importance of an internship program and present internships to parties from diverse backgrounds, providing opportunities to acquire substantial initial work experience, skills and expertise in the different departments and sectors of the farm. Internships are offered for a year with minimum wage initially, which can be adjusted pending on the progress of the candidates.
Schoonbee Landgoed currently hosts 17 interns from the University of Mpumalanga, Tshwane University of Technology, Boland College in Stellenbosch and Tompi Seleka College respectively. The team at Schoonbee Landgoed is not involved in the selection process of the interns since universities and colleges independently select suitable candidates through intense evaluation and testing. The elected interns are then presented to the farm, whereby the farm confirms the number of interns who can be accommodated during the specific time periods.
The designated interns are circulated throughout the different departments including the packing facility, orchards and workshop to gain maximum exposure, experience and skills in the sector and its daily operations, which is crucial and would be advantageous in their career preparedness.
These bright individuals meet on a weekly basis with the senior manager where transparent feedback is provided, crucial information is shared, different projects are assigned, clear deliverables set and evaluation is done.
Betsie Pretorius from the Human Resource Department acknowledged: “Internships sometimes offer a new perspective and challenge on “the way we’ve always done it” mentality, by bringing in fresh and new ideas”.
The management at Schoonbee Landgoed invests in each intern to ensure adequate skills are transferred and proper instruction and guidance are received continuously to guarantee that each intern will become a great contributor wherever they are employed.
“Internships are a great way to scout for potential employees. We have the opportunity to closely evaluate the skills of these students and graduates, work ethic as interns and their rapport with the Schoonbee culture, so we can choose to bring them on as an employee down the line” Robert Soka, Human Resources Manager admitted.
Two of the current interns will be employed by Schoonbee Landgoed as a Quality Controller in the citrus and grape packing facility and Scouting Manager in the Citrus Department.
Interns who completed their internships at Schoonbee Landgoed are quite popular in the agriculture sector. Two of our 2016 interns were employed by the Department of Agriculture Limpopo and Piet Engelbrecht Trust.
The interns overall agreed that their internship at Schoonbee Landgoed was rewarding and the knowledge and experience they gained were priceless.
“Sharing our knowledge and experience are a natural extension of our passionate managers’ responsibilities. Every day there is an opportunity to educate someone about your area of expertise. We love having these interns on the farm and are sad to see them leave when they’ve learned so much but hope that each of them will become leaders in our industry” Robert Soka, Human Resources Manager concluded.
We agree with Denis Waitley: “Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience”.