A legacy of interns

Achiever Editor, Lindsay King
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Across the four titles that I edit, I have to write a total of 20 Editor's notes. And what a challenge it is to time after time come up with something slightly interesting (at least) - after all, this is entertainment.

My biggest pet hate in the industry is when editors, for whatever the excuse, write uninspiring, uncreative and uninformative letters to their readers – especially when discussing the content of the publication. I ask myself: why then bother with the contents page? Seriously, that is not Ayoba!

However, over the past few weeks, after tuning out three editor’s notes, the one after the other, I’ve been very tempted to do the not so Ayoba thing. But fortunately, inspiration, dear reader, comes from everywhere – even from my over-full inbox.

The subject field read: “Use interns to grow your skills base”. The email came from one of my favourite speakers at last years’ ArcelorMittal Skills Development Summit, Catherine Wijnberg (Director and Founder of Fetola). In her missive, Wijnberg promotes the use of interns to lighten the load of companies.

Of course there is another angle to this: the value that committed companies bring to the young interns.

Reflecting on the previous year I asked myself what the biggest contribution is I have made to my industry and the business world in South Africa, my natural reaction was: creating insightful magazines – providing platforms for communication between decision-makers and stakeholders to ensure the successful development of South Africa’s most precious resource: its people. In the case of Achiever – to help bridge the gap between skills development, training and industry.

Reading Wijnberg’s email I’ve realised that my biggest contribution and achievement was actually much more than that – it was taking in an intern: a final year student who has since become a valuable colleague, a young man who claims to owe everything he knows about the industry to me. By the time you read this, I am proud to announce that Achiever’s content manager, Michael Meiring, would have graduated!

Michael is one of many interns and graduates who I have had the pleasure to ‘coach’ in my career – and to the day they still accolade me for taking the time to share my knowledge and help them on their way. Today these people, who are all still part of my personal life, are famous TV presenters, news readers and award-winning journalists and editors of large newspapers and magazines.

But this is not really about me. It is all about them, and the fact that I am honoured to have had the opportunity to make a small impact on their lives. By embracing what I’ve had to offer, they have given me the greatest gift ever: the opportunity to contribute to the growth of my industry and our country – they are my legacy!

One day when my time comes to put down the pen, I will know that in their ink my passion will live on.

Why am I telling you this? Because the next time an intern knocks on your door, don’t think about the effort of training him/her – think about the difference you can make in his/her life - and think about the amazing legacy you could leave behind.

Just imagine: if every skilled person in this country would coach an intern, South Africa’s skills development issues will be a thing of the past very soon.


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This edition

Issue 58