Looking back at the past year of being a DST TT100 Intern at my host company Invest in Africa Holdings Pty (Ltd) (IIAH), I have no doubt in my mind that I have grown both professionally and personally. For me, this internship was a perfect first step to a very bright future. I look back at the person I was at the beginning of this internship and how I am now and can honestly say I am a very different person. I am now confident and I can do anything I put my mind to. The experience I gained cannot be put into words. Gone are those days when I was unable to give a presentation, I am now proud to say I am one of the best presenters. As I write this success story, I feel grateful and thankful.

This internship has given me a chance to explore different roles and projects, allowing me to develop valuable skills such as interpersonal and communication skills. I was most impressed to have been given a lot of responsibility from the start. I entered into the work environment with very little, if no knowledge of business transactions, due diligence, or even how to communicate with business owners in a professional manner. This internship helped open my eyes to areas that I needed to improve on. I am glad to say that through working with the Directors of IIAH in merges and acquisitions of companies, and through reading books and business news, I have developed my financial knowledge among many other things.

I am very grateful for this opportunity, as the experience I have gained has provided me with the confidence I need to be successful in business and specifically, my chosen profession. The confidence and knowledge I have gained through this experience can be seen in my day-to-day activities, whether I am giving a presentation, involved in management review meetings or liaising with clients and customers which are usually business owners. One important and larger project I worked on was to ensure strict compliance to Safety, Health and Environmental rules and regulations, ensuring compliance to the ISO 9001 (Quality Management System) and OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety) Standards, ensuring audits were conducted as per planned schedule. I am proud to say that after working very hard on ensuring ISO Audit findings and recommendations were closed, the company retained the ISO and OHSAS Accreditation. I have also worked on a number of smaller interesting projects which included the drafting of letters to purchase shares, marketing intelligence on potential companies and running with monthly debtors. My experience has been invaluable. Overall, I am glad IIAH gave me a great deal of independence and I appreciate being trusted completely.

I was able to exercise leadership in a diverse array of projects and in some instances had to chair meetings and delegate tasks. My responsibilities helped me develop skills such as research, reading, writing and building familiarity with ISO and OHSAS standards. As someone with an interest in SHEQ issues, it was enlightening for me to be given complete responsibility of ensuring that everything goes well. Furthermore, I also had fun learning how to do SHE inspections, internal audits, emergency management, whilst collecting this information, analysing it, and then going on to present it. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to work closely with managers and Directors of IIAH, whom were very helpful and open-minded. It was an honourable and eye-opening experience, and it gives me great joy to say that the SHE system is now in place.

IIAH is the perfect step into a future career. I am forever grateful to Da Vinci for finding me my absolute dream internship and for giving me a chance to work at such an esteemed, impactful and exciting company. The feedback and compliments that I received from managers and Directors made me feel like a valued team member. IIAH operates within several sectors including power, water/wastewater, analytical instrumentation, and exposure to all these sectors which expanded my knowledge in a way I could never have imagined. The culture is extremely helpful and relaxed. Their open-door policy, friendliness and helpfulness towards everyone at IIAH are the key factors that made my internship successful. One thing that really stands out about IIAH is that all interns were not treated as interns, but were encouraged to act and think like the employees we strive to become.

Most inspiring though are the weekly staff meetings, of which the atmosphere in the meetings allowed me to become fully involved in the business proceedings as I could share what I was working on. Furthermore, the interns I worked with enriched my life with fun, happiness and wisdom. Moreover, my personal success through this internship would not have been possible without the help of all Directors, managers, my mentor and all staff members of IIAH and their unlimited amount of support and positive attitude. I was fortunate enough to be mentored by Mr Liberty Magudulela, Commercial Manager at IIAH. Despite his busy schedule, he devoted his time to ensure my growth, development, and success as an intern. One of the things he used to say are: “kill or be killed”, “remember the ‘T’ in SMART” and “IIAH does not raise second best, we raise geniuses”.

I have also had the opportunity to attend the Induction workshops and quarterly reviews at the Da Vinci Institute. I would like to point out that the best thing about Da Vinci is the support that they provide with regard to the internship and their care concerning my progress, wellness and success. At the same time, several networking opportunities were presented to the interns including one where professionals motivated us. Da Vinci offered me all the tools I needed to make it in the business world. I appreciate all the projects we were given, not only did it help me in finding out what my strengths and weaknesses are, it also helped me grow as a professional business woman and also as an overall person. I would like to give a very special thanks to Zoe Loeve, Margaret Anne Drake, and Deidre Marcus. Thank you for your encouragement, love, guidance and support. I would also like to say thanks to The Department of Science and Technology, TT100, Da Vinci and everyone that have contributed to my success.

As this internship ends, I believe I was offered abundant opportunities through this internship. My host company has offered me a permanent position as a SHEQ Representative and I will commence from 1 June 2015. I have gladly accepted this role and I look forward to the future with great anticipation as I establish my career. In addition to being offered the position, I will be going for training which is courtesy of the company. I am forever grateful to have found and participated in a meaningful and hands-on internship that I was seeking and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.