The Competition Commission’s Cadet Training Programme: Cultivating talent and bridging gaps

March 7th, 2024

Candidates attending the Competition Commission’s Cadet Training Programme.

By Selaelo Maraka and Candice Slump

The Competition Commission of South Africa (the Commission) is committed to nurturing talent and fostering inclusivity in the highly specialised field of competition law and economics. Central to this endeavour is its Cadet Training Programme, a biennial initiative designed to provide practical training and experience to graduates. The Commission recognises the strategic significance of this programme in replenishing its talent pool with practitioners possessing applied experience.

The 24-month programme offers a structured pathway for inexperienced graduates to immerse themselves in the intricacies of competition law and economics. Through rotations across the Commission’s divisions and guidance from mentors and technical coaches, cadets engage in real-life cases, building a robust portfolio of skills and expertise.

In 2023, the Commission embarked on an extensive search for top-ranking graduates. To ensure a diverse intake, efforts were made to reach tertiary institutions across the country, including those in marginalised areas often overlooked in the talent attraction journey.

The overwhelming response necessitated a rigorous selection process, culminating in the identification of the top 50 candidates.

Acknowledging the diverse backgrounds of applicants, the Commission structured a comprehensive bootcamp to assist the shortlisted participants in bridging the gap between academia and the professional world of work, and to equip them with essential skills beyond the immediate scope of employment at the Commission.

In January 2024, the Commission provided the shortlisted participants with training on, among other things, generational differences in the workplace, self-awareness, career planning, finance, critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration, and introduced them to the work undertaken by the Commission.

Following the bootcamp, interview panels convened to assess the candidates’ suitability for the different functional streams within the Commission. Despite the challenge of selecting from a highly qualified pool, the Commission successfully onboarded 17 graduates for the 2024 intake, with a significant proportion hailing from regions beyond the Gauteng province.

The impact of the bootcamp extends beyond the Commission, as evidenced by feedback from unsuccessful candidates who expressed empowerment and refinement in their skills. This underscores the broader contribution of such initiatives to the enhancement of South Africa’s youth talent market.

The Cadet Training Programme remains a beacon of opportunity, embodying the organisation’s commitment to excellence, diversity, and socio-economic empowerment. Through strategic outreach, comprehensive training, and inclusive recruitment practices, the Commission is poised to shape the future of competition law and economics in South Africa, one cadet at a time.

As the Commission continues its quest for top talent, it also encourages more senior lawyers with an interest in competition law, to indicate their interest in working at the Commission. CVs can be submitted to:

Selaelo Maraka is the Talent Acquisition Officer and Candice Slump is the Litigation Manager at the Competition Commission of South Africa.