GK SA CoSM - Jason du Plessis: News from Germany

I never thought that joining Golden Key in 2009, that I would meet and work with incredible leaders and provide me with opportunities to travel and see the world! I was fortunate enough to serve the local Stellenbosch Chapter for two consecutive years (2009-2011). In my reign as Chapter President in 2011, I lead my team to successfully implement and develop various networking, community and literacy projects that benefited the larger Stellenbosch community as well as students of the university. In this term, the Stellenbosch Chapter reached a 67% member acceptance rate, making this the most successful term the Chapter experienced thus far. I ‘m currently serving as the South African representative on the Council of Student Members (CoSM). I was also privileged to attend both the National Conference in Bloemfontein (2011) and International Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona (2010).

As any young graduate, I feared that after four years of hard work and sacrifice to obtain my Hons. Bcomm (Logistic Management) degree, I would enter the employment market without any possibilities especially knowing my country’s current economic climate and high unemployment rate. Even though I had the necessary qualifications and leadership qualities to be a top performing employee, I still required the skills and training that most companies search for when appointing new employees. Keeping these thoughts in mind, I started my search for any vacancies and graduate programs in my field of study. On this search, I came across an internship abroad named Students Experience Programme (STEP).

SAFRI (Southern Africa Initiative of German Business) in association with Mercedes-Benz South Africa offers six-month internships at Daimler and other companies in Germany. Throughout this internship at Daimler AG, participants will gain invaluable practical on-the-job work experience and skills. This international experience is accompanied by a cultural programme and business training. German language training before and during the internship is also an integral part of the programme. The STEP 2012 participants were selected from a large number of applicants. All applications are invited from high calibre students and recent graduates from Southern African Developing Community (SADC) countries.

Daimler AG together with Mercedes-Benz South Africa created the Students Experience Programme (STEP) in 2005 in response to the great demand in Southern Africa for practical training as well as the need for young Southern African talent in German businesses that are active in the region. This programme prepares the participants for the challenges awaiting them on the employment market and creates the basis for robust business relations in Southern Africa. It also helps German business identify and train highly qualified local employees for their future business activities in the region.

It’s been nearly 2 months that I’ve been living and working in Germany and I’ve seen and experience what Germany and the Logistics industry has to offer. My colleagues’ work standard and ethics is astounding. Their dedication to excellence through partnership is exemplified by their focus on quality and efficiency.  The rich history of this beautiful country and its people truly exceeded my expectations. Soon, I will be returning back to South Africa to implement the knowledge and skills I have acquired over the duration of this internship.

Most GK members tend to believe that the benefits of joining this prestigious society are limited to their duration of their studies. GK offers a LIFE TIME membership! Not only did my direct involvement with the local Stellenbosch Chapter and international Student Council equip me with the necessary leadership skills and experience, but if also provided me with possibilities to pursue the career I desired, in my home country or abroad. By capitalizing on these opportunities and benefits, I will be able grow and develop within the employment market as a proud GK South African Alumni giving back to my local community and being a role model for those I  get in contact with. I will forever treasure the precious memories and incredible friends I have made, but most of all I will always remember the genuine kindness and humility this Society has shown towards me.