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Pragma Student Training Programme scores hat trick at 2015 Achiever Awards

Pragma, a multinational physical asset management solutions provider, has grabbed the lion’s share in awards for its annual Student Training Programme (STP) at the 2015 Achiever Awards.

Hosted annually as part of the Skills Development Summit, this year sponsored by the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing (FP&M) SETA, the Achiever Awards honours companies, government departments and organisations for their contribution to skills development and training programmes within the South African context. This year, Pragma has been honoured with three awards, including Best Innovative Training Programme, Best Graduate Training Programme and Best Training Programme (Large Company).

Since its inception in 2011, Pragma’s three-week STP programme has grown in leaps and bounds with applications increasing significantly on an annual basis. This paid programme is specifically aimed at B.Eng. (Industrial, Mechanical and Electrical) students in their third or fourth year of studies.

The content of the programme ensures that the students are introduced to the concepts of physical asset management while being exposed to the work of an Asset Care Engineer. As part of their group work they are assigned real projects at one of Pragma’s clients where they get the opportunity to research, analyse and find a solution for a problem under the guidance of Pragma’s Asset Care Engineers. On the final day of the programme, each team has to present their findings to a panel of Pragma’s senior management and clients.

While a great focus is placed on learning and acquiring specialist industry knowledge, the development of soft skills is equally important. Pragma’s STP programme takes a holistic approach by putting the students on a path of self-discovery. While they get the opportunity to rub shoulders with Pragma’s senior management during a structured series of mentoring sessions, they also partake in a strengths finder questionnaire. By learning more about their inherent strengths, each student gets to analyse and understand their own strengths and how to play to their strengths throughout their lives.

“I loved the mentoring sessions! I learned some valuable lessons from very wise and experienced people. I also enjoyed graduation day a lot. The presentation skills we got taught was also very valuable for me and something that I will often use in my career,” says Larissa van Deventer, a fourth year B.Eng. (Industrial) student of the University of Stellenbosch.

“The STP programme affords Pragma the opportunity to introduce future engineers to physical asset management and the value that could be unlocked by responsible asset owners when they have access to the necessary tools and expertise. Receiving these rewards for a programme that we are truly passionate about, is recognition for very hard work, innovative thought and a giving attitude by a team of wonderful people”, says Pragma People and Organisational Development (POD) Manager Stéphan Pieterse, who sees this programme as an opportunity to attract some of South Africa’s brightest young talent.

To date, Pragma has employed four members of the STP alumni and are looking to increase this number in years to come. Pragma has been recognised as one of the best companies to work for by Deloitte’s Best Company to Work for Survey over recent years and was the Building, Construction and Engineering industry category winner for the last six years.

According to the Manpower South Africa’s 10th annual Talent Shortage Survey, skilled trades and engineers remain the most difficult positions for companies to fill in South African. This year, a staggering 31% of companies reported difficulty finding skilled candidates; these figures are attributed mostly to the lack of skills in the job market.

“We believe that proper physical asset management practices will play a critical role in creating a sustainable future for our country. By sharing our knowledge with young, aspiring engineers, we want to do our bit in preparing them for the challenges they will face in the future,” says Pragma Africa Managing Director Attie Nieuwoudt.

Applications for Pragma’s Student Training Programme will open in April 2016. To learn more about Pragma’s STP programme, contact Stéphan Pieterse on +27 21 943 3900 or email him on Stéphan.Pieterse@pragmaworld.net. Or, visit www.pragmaworld.net for more information.

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