The FPD SHIPS Department was established in 2012 as a result of the expertise developed through the implementation of the PEPFAR Fellowship Programme. Through this program, more than 200 graduates with a Master’s qualification were successfully transitioned from academia to the workplace.

The Department has since expanded its programme offering to include programmes designed to enhance the skills of university graduate students, TVET students and school-leavers. The purpose of these programmes is to place students and school-leavers with host organisations in the public and private sector to enhance their employability through workplace experience opportunities and studies towards a National Qualifications Framework registered qualification.


Pharmacist Assistant Learnership

The Pharmacist Assistant Learnership Programme was established in 2009. To date this programme has supported more than 3200 learners at Basic and Post Basic level. Learners are placed at private and government hospitals, and private pharmacies to work under the supervision of a tutor Pharmacist. During the first year of the learnership, learners complete a Pharmacist Assistant (Basic) qualification. Thereafter learners can enrol for a second year to complete the Pharmacist Assistant (Post Basic) qualification.

Business Administration Learnership

In 2017, a learnership in Business Administration for disabled candidates was introduced. Various private sector partners funded the learnership that aims to alleviate poverty among disabled candidates, by improving their employability through participation in a learnership and work experience opportunities. To date 475 learners successfully participated in this initiative.

TVET Student Workplace Experience Program

In 2014 FPD secured funding from HWSETA to establish a Work Experience Program for TVET (previously FET) students. The program provides opportunities for work experience to TVET students who have completed the theoretical component of a level N4 – N6 qualification in Business Studies fields. Through this programme, students are mentored and coached to fulfil the 18 months experiential training required to obtain their diploma. More than 400 TVET students have to date participated in the program.

IT Learnerships

In 2018, IT Learnerships were added to FPD’s programme offering. To date, 395 learners participated in IT Learnerships. Learners study towards a National Qualifications Framework registered qualification whilst receiving on-the-job training through their placement with hosting organisations.

Learnership Programme Offerings

  • Pharmacist Assistant (Basic) NQF Level 3
  • Pharmacist Assistant (Post Basic) NQF Level 4
  • Health and Safety NQF Level 2
  • Health and Safety NQF Level 3
  • Health and Safety NQF Level 4
  • Business Administration NQF Level 3
  • Business Administration NQF Level 4
  • Generic Management NQF Level 4
  • Generic Management NQF Level 5
  • IT Technical Support NQF Level 4
  • IT Systems Development NQF Level 5
  • IT Database Management NQF Level 6

University Graduate Internship Programme

The programme aims to bridge the theoretical and practical aspects of newly qualified graduates, thus making the transition from classroom to workplace easier through supervised work environment exposure. The programme caters for candidates who have completed a university degree in IT, Human Resources, Finance, Marketing, Community Development, Social Work, Bio-medical Technology, Environmental Health, and Psychology.

FPD has recruited and placed more than 450 University graduates with partner hosting organisations. Interns are paired with a mentor who guides them to effectively function in the work environment and who shares their knowledge and experience in the Interns' respective field of study.

Joining FPD’s hosting organisation network

The placement of learners and interns with reputable hosting organisations to gain practical work experience form an integral part of the success of learnerships and internships.

For more information on becoming part of FPD’s hosting organisation network, please contact: Louisa de Weerdt on 087 821 1109 or

Sponsoring a learnership or internship

Should your company be interested to sponsor an existing program or embark on a program customised to your needs, please contact Ms Louisa de Weerdt, Contact Number: +27 (0)87 821 1109, Email Address:

Current and former Sponsors
  • Health and Welfare SETA
  • Skills Panda
  • Ultimate Dynamics
  • Health and Safety NQF Level 4
  • Trinity Telecomms
  • Esayidi TVET College

Program management services

FPD offers the following program management services:

  • Recruitment of learners and interns
  • Placement of learners and interns at suitable hosting organisations
  • Employment contracts
  • Payroll services for the payment of stipends
  • Leave management
  • Timesheet management
  • Registering learners and interns with the relevant SETAs
  • Preparing and providing reports
  • Sourcing of training partners
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Learner and intern management

For more information about program management services offered, please contact: Louisa de Weerdt on 087 821 1109 or

Contact Us

Ships Unit

Contact Person:Ms Louisa de Weerdt
Contact number: +27 (0)87 821 1109

Contact Person: Ms Thabiso Mabena
Senior Programme Coordinator
Contact number: +27 (0)87 821 1109