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INTERNSHIPS: T-Systems Interns Work and Play in Germany


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Five T-Systems interns from South Africa recently returned to South Africa following a five-week visit to Darmstadt, in the Bundesland of Hesse in Germany, as part of the Konrad Reiss International Exchange Programme which saw them integrate into the Deutsche Telekom (T-Systems' parent company) workforce in Germany.

T-Systems in South Africa has been entrusted with a substantial donation for student development, by the family of the late Mr. Konrad Reiss and T-Systems. Mr.Reiss, T-Systems former CEO sadly passed away a few years ago.
There is a major drive from T-Systems for inter country job exchange exposing employees and students to a number of divisions, disciplines and real-world experiences in a foreign country, hence it was decided to use the funds for an international student exchange programme. Mr. Reiss was passionate about South Africa and the CIDA ICT Academy and the exchange programme is certainly a wonderful to honour his legacy.

Four Interns and one CIDA ICT Academy student Miranda Malawana, Tshidisegang Mosenyegi , Kegan Matthys, Faith Ngwenya and and Kagiso Dlodlo were chosen from a number of candidates who had to go through a rigorous selection process. Mashnee Darmen, programme manager at T-Systems in South Africa comments: "We put them through a mini boot camp of sorts; it was really a process that pulled them out of their comfort zones. We were extremely pleased with the high standard of submissions we received which made the decision even harder. It was ultimately up to the T-Systems Board of Directors to make the difficult decision of choosing only five candidates."

The goal for the Konrad Reiss programme is to not only expose the interns to the working environment in Germany but also enable them to really experience the rich culture of the country. As a result, all of the interns lived with German host families, also participating in their daily routines.

Miranda Malawana, Bachelor of Business Administration and CISCO qualified graduate from CIDA) says: "I love the spirit of the country and its people; they lead a wonderful, balanced life which is truly admirable. They work flexi-hours which afford them to spend time at home; however, they maximise their productivity through prioritisation which is a lesson that we can all learn from." Miranda worked in the pre-sales international department for T-Systems in Germany.

Each of the interns where integrated in a department of Deutsche Telekom, a baptism of fire for some as they were truly thrown into the deep end.
Tshidisegang, Bachelor of Business Administration and CISCO certified graduate from CIDA, comments she that was initially overwhelmed with the amount of work that had to be done on a very tight deadline, however, the willingness of the team to help and support her made all the difference in achieving her work goals.

"They have wonderful team spirit and really happy to assist one another; they also have a lot of faith in their team members which meant I had to personally step up and deliver. Personally, the experience was absolutely amazing, the family I lived with really went out of their way to make me feel welcome - it was a tearful goodbye and I look forward to seeing them again," says Tshidisegang Mosenyegi.

Kagiso, a CISCO certified graduate from CIDA, comments that he was exposed to amazing projects as part of his role in the ITTV department of T-Systems.
"I participated in the negotiation of contract for a company management solution which entailed technology and implementations I have only heard of
in theory. Furthermore, I worked in the most amazing server room and
formed part of the implementation team participating in administration and configuration of systems. I had a truly awesome time and Germans were welcoming and an inspiration."

The Germans are well known for their efficiency and environmentally-conscious practices. Kegan, who has a national certificate in computer science from CTI, comments he shared a home with a few guys who really went out of their way to make him feel home. "They literally designed my own room for me and filled it with furniture and so forth. It was amazing how neat they are and the pride they take in their environment. I come from a small town and so do some of the guys I lived with; it was really amazing to draw the parallels between our own lives and how far we've come. Also, discussing our various cultures was an enriching experience."

Kegan worked in the T-Systems service delivery department which exposed him to various teams and operations such as 30 000 server data centres that provide services remotely to clients across Germany.

Since 2003, T-Systems has been a main sponsor of the CIDA City Campus ICT Academy, a facility that addresses the skills shortage within the ICT industry. The ICT Academy facilitates predominately previously disadvantaged individuals (PDIs) and offers a number of internationally recognised ICT qualifications.

Whilst funds were only available for a once-off trip (accommodating the five individuals), T-Systems internship programme hopes to build on the success of the exchange programme by sending at least one candidate on annual basis going forward.


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