Graduate Program

South Africa faces major unemployment challenges among its youth. Cipla South Africa’s Graduate Program is a strategic talent initiative which provides work experience for graduates and helps to source fresh talent for the business. This is a two year-program. We recruit annually based on our business needs.

Application window: 10 – 25 November 2021

About the program

Initiated in 2015, the Cipla Graduate Skills Program (GSP) are strategic talent initiatives designed to source and develop young talent for the future of Cipla. The program aims to widen opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds.

In so doing, the program provides appropriate and relevant work experience that aligns with the graduates qualifications and identified talents. Graduates are recruited annually and successful graduates complete an intensive two-year competency-based graduate program.

  • 2-year Fixed Term Contract (FTC) program
  • Competitive, monthly stipend
  • ‘Rotation’ method – i.e. Graduates are rotated between business and must be prepared to relocate more than once within 24-months
  • Continuous development; performance reviews; and coaching
  • 9-month Level 4 Project Management Learnership (compulsory)
  • Permanent employment NOT guaranteed however after the 1st year, may apply for permanent Cipla vacancies

Meet some of the graduates

Find out more about the Cipla graduates and how each of their qualifications fit into the various business units. Learn more about what their job roles entail as well as the highlights and challenges that each grad encounters.

Customer Services Graduate

Francis Salman

What degrees did you complete and at which university?
I hold a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics from the University of South Africa where I am currently completing my Honors program.

When did you join Cipla?
I joined Cipla and the Distribution Gateway in April of 2021

What is your role at Cipla?
I am currently a graduate within the Customer Services space and I will be joining the Warehouse for my second rotation in November 2021.

What is the role of a graduate within the Supply Chain and Distribution Gateway?
I understand that based on my education and background, my role is slightly different to what a traditional graduate role within the Supply Chain Management space would look like.

Within Customer Services, my role thus far has largely been one of a process and data analyst. I have had the opportunity to collect, clean and process data for analysis in order extract insights that feed into key process improvements and an improved customer experience. And as my journey progresses and I move into my Warehouse rotation, I imagine it will shift towards, but won’t be limited to, a more systems analysis role.

Either way, the ultimate mandate is always to play your role and make a meaningful contribution towards the business credo of One Cipla Caring for Life.

What are the highlights and challenges of your job?
One of the major highlights of my job has to be working with a dedicated team under the guidance of a stellar manager who is a resilient leader. I think that sets the tone for us to come in to work every single morning and be counted. I also enjoy the variability of my work. Every day is different, and it presents new and exciting challenges. In so doing, I get to employ my skillset and contribute towards offerings and solutions that make a meaningful contribution to the lives of so many people.

The one challenge I have had to overcome is understanding the volatile nature of the business and the industry. Naturally, I prefer linear, detailed plans and courses of action. However, the nature of the business calls for a great deal of agility and resilience. Being able to work in this ever-changing environment has and will continuously challenge those competences.

Communications Graduate

Thabisa Klaas

What degrees did you complete and at which university?
BA in Strategic brand communication and BA Honours in Strategic Brand Communication at Vega School

When did you join Cipla?
April 2021

What is the role of a communications graduate?
My role involves maintaining the brands reputation by being a liaison between the organisation, the public, and the media to ensure that the brand remains top of mind. I also work on campaigns to help raise awareness on the various therapeutic areas such as mental health, HIV and oncology. My role also enables me to work closely with the Cipla Foundation, which allows me to make a difference in the community.

What are the highlights and challenges of your job?
The highlight of my job is that I get to be creative even in the pharmaceutical industry. From day one I was never treated like an intern, I was given tasks to handle on my own and this has allowed me to grow a lot within a short space of time. I also work with a lot of different teams, so I get to network with different departments and not work in a silo. The challenges that I face in my job is being able to manage my time when working on different projects and campaigns at the same time, but this is also what makes my job exciting, no day is the same and that keeps things interesting.

Regulatory Affairs Graduate

Tasneem Jadwat

Which degree did you complete and at which university?
Bachelor of Honours degree in Pharmacy at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

When did you join Cipla?
April 2021

What is the role of a Regulatory Affairs Pharmacist?
The role of a Regulatory Affairs Pharmacist compromises of the compilation of a dossier, which is the essential documentation of a particular drug that is used to get the drug registered with the regulatory authority, SAHPRA, thereby ensuring that Cipla is able to manufacture, market and sell their products. Aside from registrations, one of the core functions of an RA pharmacist is to ensure continuing dossier maintenance or compliance of these documents with SAHPRA thereby ensuring business continuity. The Regulatory Affairs team displays high attention to detail, teamwork, future planning, critical thinking and effective cross functional collaboration with other stakeholders including constant SAHPRA engagement.

What are the highlights and challenges of your job?
The highlight of my job is being tasked with upholding the responsibilities of a regular Regulatory Affairs Pharmacist as opposed to just being an intern. This responsibility has allowed me to showcase my ability to work under pressure, learn to deliver outcomes through dedication and hard work as well as contributed to upskilling me as individual in a professional and personal capacity. The challenges that surround my day-to-day include managing my time to meet tight deadlines however I find myself welcoming these challenges with open arms since being addicted to growing and excelling as an individual in this regulatory space is displayed constantly throughout the team.

Digital/IT Graduate

Jabez du Preez

What degrees did you complete and at what university?
BSc in Information Technology, 3 years at North-West University

When did you join Cipla?
I joined Cipla on the 2nd of March 2020

What is the role of a Digital/IT graduate in the pharmaceutical sector?
The role of the Digital/IT graduate is to assist the rest of the team with technical issues, challenges, and upgrades to company hardware. At the moment I am doing desktop, network and server support.

What are the highlights and challenges of your job?
One of the greatest challenges of my job so far was fitting into the team during the covid lockdown. Every meet up had to be digital which isn’t the same as a face-to-face meet up. The greatest highlight during my time at Cipla was receiving an award for being an Unsung Hero. Even though it wasn’t expressed in great detail, my hard work and determination was noticed and rewarded. Even when everything feels dark and it seems like it’s all for nothing, someone is watching and noticing. Never ever give up on what you want to achieve!

Mechanical Engineering Graduate

Bhivek Singh

What degrees did you complete and at what university?
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of KwaZulu-Natal

When did you join Cipla?
12 April 2021

What is the role of a mechanical engineer in the pharmaceutical sector?
Fulfilling the role as a mechanical engineer first and foremost requires the application of core mechanical engineering principles and having an in-depth understanding of the perplexing pharmaceutical manufacturing process. The main functions of the engineer on site are to co-ordinate processing efficiencies by ensuring the facility equipment hardware and software communicate optimally.

The processing suites within the facility need to be within predefined parameters for temperature and humidity thus the air within the facility is regulated using Air Handling Units which need to be carefully designed and controlled. A large part of being an engineer requires co-ordination of multiple projects conducted and governed in parallel on the site for global reports and introduction of new equipment onto the facility for new product introduction.

What are the highlights and challenges of your job?
The most rewarding part of the job is knowing that your contribution improves lives, and this motivates our team to work as efficiently as possible. This role has allowed me to be tasked with perplexing project responsibilities granting me the opportunity to engage and learn from other engineers globally and broadened my scope of logic processing viewing challenges more intricately.

I have been fortunate enough be guided by an amazing manager and supported by a remarkable team. The challenges that are faced are aligned with working long hours under pressure to ensure thorough root cause analysis and problem solving is completed to minimize impact to production along with facing challenges where the root to the solution maybe be convoluted.

Production Pharmacist Graduate

Simone Eicker

What degrees did you complete and at what university?
B.Pharm at the North West University – Potchefstroom campus
Masters in Pharmaceutics: Pre-formulation at the North West University – Potchefstroom campus

When did you join Cipla?
April 2021

What is the role of the graduate of a Production Pharmacist Graduate?
Manufacturing - Coordinates and controls production activities under the supervision of the Manufacturing Manager and Head of Production. Implements the production plan and targets according to cGMP, while maintaining the highest level of Quality, Safety and Productivity. Upholds and maintains all legislative requirements when reviewing and approving all production and related activities, within the scope of a legally appointed Pharmacist. Leads /supervisors employees engaged in production activities.

What are the highlights and challenges of your job?
My highlights have been working with a variety of people, getting to do and experience what I always wanted to and being challenged every day. My challenge has been doing shift work.

Highly motivated, excellence-focused graduates and students, who are willing and able to fail and learn fast; who will innovate, collaborate and create the Cipla of tomorrow, today. We’re looking for the change-makers, the insatiably curious, the socially intelligent, the culturally aware, the most resilient, most agile, the digital natives… the game-changers.

Graduates who are willing to be mobile i.e., prepared to move to any of our 3 South Africa (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg) sites more than once, during the 2-year graduate program

Fields of Study suitable for the Graduate Program

When recruiting talent, the program considers CIPLA’s current and future succession plans, and the scarce skills needed to grow the organisation:

  • Computer and Information Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Economic Management Sciences – Finance & Accounting
  • Graphic Design
  • Health Sciences
  • Human Sciences, Industrial Psychology, Human Resources
  • Manufacturing
  • Natural Sciences
  • Pharmacists (completed internship and community service preferred)
  • Social Sciences – Digital Marketing and Communications
  • Supply Chain


  • Make sure you follow all instructions exactly, incomplete and / or late applications are automatically disqualified.
  • Ensure all required documents are included & in PDF format with descriptive names i.e. Boni_Ntuli ID.
  • Include a single-page CV (pdf) and a photo of yourself. Make sure your CV includes all your contact details and an alternative contact numbers/emails.
  • Remember you applied to Cipla and know as much as possible about us. (During the CV screening process, we randomly conduct spontaneous 3-minute telephonic interviews. One of the questions we ask, is what you know about Cipla).
  • Answer calls from an ‘unknown number’ professionally, it could be us!


  • South African identity document (born in SA age between 18 – 33)
  • Completed qualification with average of 70% in final year of study (completed studying in 2019/2020/2021)
  • Willing to relocate (more than once) to CT, DBN, JHB within the 2-year program
  • Less than one-years permanent employment working experience
  • Fully conversant (reading and writing) in English

Frequently Asked Questions

Online Application Issues

I’m struggling to upload my documents using the Cipla on-line job application system.
If all else fails, try upload them in the ‘reference’ field of the online application form OR include them as part of your CV attachment (all in one pdf) and re-upload your CV.

Recent Transcripts

I don’t have my most recent transcripts.
Include your mid-year transcripts in the interim and forward your recent transcript as soon as you have it.

The institute won’t release my results as I have outstanding student fees.
Request institute to write a letter on their letterhead confirming your qualification; that you completed your studies and your student number and name reflect on their letter.

If I don’t meet the academic criteria in my first year – will I still be eligible?
Provided you achieved an average of 70% in your final year of studies, your previous years of studies results are not reviewed.

Psychometric Assessment Results

Will I get a copy of the online psychometric assessment results?
You receive an abridged online version directly from the vendor on completion & submission. If appointed as a graduate, you receive a one-on-one coaching feedback session

Who Pays?

Who pays for my flights to CT and accommodation costs?
Cipla covers (where relevant) flights from major cities to CT, including transport and accommodation during the 30-day induction. During induction graduates are expected to source and arrange accommodation at their expense in the city (CT or DBN or JHB) they will be located after induction.


Do the graduates receive a salary whilst on the program?
Successfully appointed graduates receive a competitive and liveable monthly stipend. Medical aid and provident fund benefits are optional (not compulsory).

Do I have to be Health Science graduate to apply?
Provided you have a qualification listed in our Fields of Study section, and achieved 70% average in your most recent year of study, you can apply.

Do you take Honours, Masters or PhD students?
Yes provided you have a qualification which matches those listed in our Fields of Study section.

What work do the Grads do?

What type of work will I be doing?
We aim to place grads in business units which provides experience related to their field of study. Graduates are also given opportunities to enhance their experience within and outside of their fields of study too, to give a holistic working experience.

Graduate Program

Why is the program two years?
The pharmaceutical industry is a complex environment, 12 months is just not enough time to provide a graduate with significant exposure; hence the program was extended to 2 years.

In what provinces are the program based? Where am I likely to be placed?
We have 4 sites based in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, depending on your qualifications and the business need, you will be placed in one of our four facilities. Sometimes you may move more than once during the two years.

Am I guaranteed a job after?
The graduate program is an end-to-end 2-year duration with no guarantee of permanent employment; however, in the second-year graduates are encouraged to apply for the permanent vacancies advertised within Cipla.

Why a one-month induction program?
A 30-day induction provides sufficient time and opportunity to develop a ‘basket’ of foundational competencies needed to ensure the graduate is equipped with the necessary competencies to ‘hit the ground running’.

When does the program start?
Usually, the 3rd or 4th month of the year

How many graduates to you take in each year?
Between 10 and 20

What is the organisational culture?
High performance culture – people and productivity focused.


What can I do to improve my chances of being successful?
Prepare, prepare, prepare! Research, network, follow and meet all the criteria exactly. Be open-minded and demonstrate an agile attitude. Be your authentic self.

How will I be contacted if I’m successful?
By email or telephone – although we are usually so excited to tell you that we call you right away.