The FPD SHIPS Department was established in 2012 to draw from the expertise developed by the Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Fellowship Programme in successfully transitioning students from academia to the workplace.
The department has designed a number of programmes intended to hone the skills of postgraduate students, graduate students as well as school leavers to enhance their employability through workplace experience opportunities by placing them with FPD, PEPFAR partners and the public and private sector institutions.
Current Projects of the FPD SHIPS Departments include learnerships such Pharmacy Assistant and internships which include Edu Experience, Information Technology in Partnership with Nethope for Public health facilities, Information Technology in Partnership with CiTD in retail Vodacom and 8TA stores nationwide. Furthermore, the two flagship Fellowship programmes are the PEPFAR Fellowship which places newly qualified masters’ degree graduates in an AIDS service environment and Global Health for Social Change which is an overseas exchange programme.
Highlights of 2014
Since 2007 the PEPFAR Fellowship Programme has placed an average of 40 fellows at various host organisations bringing the total of fellows accommodated over the past eight years to 288.
The PEPFAR Fellowship Programme that was started in 2006 places newly qualified masters’ degree graduates in an AIDS service environment. To date (February 2014), this programme has placed 288 Fellows. The fellows have been placed in four sectors including monitoring and evaluation, medical male circumcision, care and support, and National Health Insurance and Health System support.
We also launched a Global Health for Social change Internship (GHSCI) in 2013 that saw three international university students being placed at a non-governmental organisation (NGO) for eight weeks getting appropriate work experience and contributing immensely to the running of their programmes. In 2014, we were able to also have a student placed with the Integrated Chronic Medicines project and mentored by Dr. David Cameron. The focus was on programmes affecting social change and public health in South Africa. Students performed field–based work and also experienced a different cultural dimension by living with local host families.
Through the IT Internship Programme, in partnership with NetHope Academy and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), 36 Interns were placed in 2014 at various public health facilities to strengthen IT capacity. They underwent various training from DHIS to Tier Net courses. A beautiful certificate ceremony was held in October to celebrate the work that they have done.
We also managed to successfully pilot a project of placing IT Technicians in partnership with CiTD in 2013 which grew from five students to 26 in 2014. The students do an intensive 1 week Induction programme with FPD then another two weeks in the stores before they start working.
Additionally, FPD places 56 FET graduates in one year workplace experience programmes. The objective of this programme is to assist students to gain valuable work experience that is needed to complete their qualification and also to improve their chances of employment.
The Pharmacy Assistant Learnership Programme (established in 2009) initially placed 48 learners. This number increased to 318 learners in 2013 and a record 577 students in 2014, resulting in a total of 895 learners supported to date. Post learnership employment rate is at 100 percent for the Pharmacy assistant programme, with demand for qualified students at Post-Basic level exceeding the number of trained students.
For more about the Foundation for Professional Development, refer to www.fpd.co.za.