Internship as a mechanism for professional preparation of sport management personnel: an empirical study of students’ perceptions
The labour market in South Africa (SA) has been characterized by very high and increasing rates of unemployment and an acute shortage of skilled workers. Consequently, finding competent people who will fit in with an organisation’s culture, vision and strategic goals has been challenging. As a result, the recruitment drives of many organisations currently focus heavily on attracting skills as well as experience. One of the ways in which the skills shortage and lack of experience could be addressed would be by including an internship in the curricula of different programmes offered at Higher Education Institutions. The current study seeks to articulate from a student’s perspective the value of internship in the professional preparation of sport management personnel and attempts to contribute to research in education by providing empirical evidence on the usefulness of internships and make recommendations thereon. A 47-item questionnaire was administered to 300 interns at three universities which offered sport management programmes with internship as a compulsory component. Analyses were performed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS – version 17). Principal component analysis (PCA) was conducted on the data. A final model consisting of seven factors which accounted for 77.80% of the overall variance in the scale item scores was produced. The factors were professional development (five items), personal development (five items), marketability (thee items), adaptability (thee items), relevance (thee items), opportunity for growth (two items) and networking (two items). The study found internships to be a valuable component in the sport management curriculum. Emanating from the findings several recommendations were made.
Key words:Internship; Labour; Professional development; Personal development; Marketability; Relevance.