Le Roux, 2014, South Africa
Summer Internship: Climate Change and Sustainability, Ernst & Young, Johannesburg, South Africa
What are you working on in this internship? I am conducting research examining innovative approaches to skills development in key South African industries. I am focusing in-depth on the efforts of original equipment manufacturers in the automotive industry and public-private partnerships for increasing artisan skills within this sector. I’m also investigating how efforts to build a pipeline of skilled labour include youth that are currently not engaged in employment, education or training.
What impact does your work have? This research will contribute to a report published by EY on the issue as well as my Master’s thesis. I hope that these findings will not only provide a valuable academic contribution, but also help to inform practice going forward. The research report will aim to provide key lessons learnt and insights for the automotive (and potentially other) industries on this important topic.
How is your Fletcher degree helping you succeed in this internship? Skills development is a critical issue impacting both business and socio-economic development in South Africa. My Fletcher degree, focused on strategic management and development economics, has provided me with analytical tools and theoretical understanding that are essential to analyzing this complex issue. For example, examining both the cost drivers along the automobile manufacturing supply chain and impact of poverty on human capital development are key to understanding the “skills shortage.”
What is the most interesting thing that you have done during your summer in South Africa? I visited the South African Automotive Industry Development Centre’s park in Rosslyn where a first-of-its-kind training facility is being completed that will be utilized by competing automobile manufacturers to increase the skills of employees. Other highlights include visiting the Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto and the Ukutula Lion Park where I played with cubs.
A meaningful project I worked on: I am currently researching and developing a thesis topic on the role of corporations in building a skilled workforce in South Africa. I have been examining different approaches for skill-building - from collaboration between the public and private sector on vocational training, to companies strengthening their local supply chains either on their own initiative or due to government mandate. I am interested in the tension of this two-dimensional challenge for business - needing skilled workers and retaining those they have invested in, as well as what approaches or degree of government intervention seem to work best for facilitating skill development and reducing unemployment in South Africa.
This spring, I completed a consultancy project with Woolworths, the leading retailer of fresh produce in South Africa, as part of a Harvard Business School field class examining sustainability practices of major corporations. We examined the Woolworths' Farming for the Future initiative and their communication with customers around this program. This summer, I will be interning in Ernst & Young's Climate Change and Sustainability office in Johannesburg where I will produce brief reports on sustainability challenges and best practices of leading corporations in South Africa, while continuing to develop research towards my thesis.
Global issue that brought you to Fletcher:
The desire to better understand and help foster socio-economic development in sub-Saharan Africa
Fields of Study
- Strategic Management
- Sustainable Development
Education before Fletcher
- BS, Economics; BA, International Affairs, University of Mary Washington
Experience before Fletcher
- Deputy Director of Development, America Abroad Media (AAM)
- Research Intern, Center for International Trade and Economics, The Heritage Foundation
- Research Assistant, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
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