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Pragmas student training programme recognised at recent BHP Billiton Achiever Awards

Pragma recently finished as 2nd runner up in the Best Graduate Trainee Programme category of the Achiever Awards component of the BHP Billiton Skills Development Summit. The company was recognised for its “Pragma is preparing tomorrow’s engineers” entry. In 2012, they also achieved the 1st runner up position in the category Best Training Programme: Engineering Sector.

The 2013 category award recognises an intensive graduate trainee programme that supports youth development and yields good results in business in any sector. The winner in this category was Unitrans Freight and Logistics, with Taletso FET College taking the 1st runner up position.

Pragma launched its first official University Student Training Programme in 2011. The three-week programme is specifically aimed at B.Eng. (Industrial, Mechanical and Electrical) students in their third year of studies.

Stephan Pieterse, People and Organisational Development Manager at Pragma, has the following to say about the programme: “Pragma views engagement with engineering students as very important. Over the last number of years, the company established itself as an employer of choice, especially for Industrial Engineers. Pragma was voted the 6th best small company to work for in South Africa in the 2013 Deloitte Best Company to Work For Survey. Pragma was also voted the Building, Construction and Engineering industry category winner in the same survey in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

In 2013, Pragma received more than 50 applications to join the programme from university students across the country. Eight students, reflecting South Africa’s diverse culture, were selected to be part of the programme this year. This programme forms part of the students’ requirement to complete vacation work before they can graduate. The content of the training programme ensures that the students are introduced to the company, the concepts of physical asset management and Pragma’s service offering. A formal exam is written during the last week for which a 70% pass rate is required to graduate from the programme.

Included in the programme is exposure to the work of an Asset Care Engineer at a Pragma client. Students work together in groups and are assigned real projects. They are guided by Pragma’s Asset Care Engineers in the process of researching the problem, analysing it and the compilation of a solution, which they need to present in front of an audience at the final day of the programme.

The students also have the privilege to be part of various coaching and mentoring sessions with Pragma’s senior management team in order to provide them with very valuable life and career lessons. During the programme, students are also taken on a journey to discover their strengths (using Marcus Buckingham’s book, Now Discover Your Strengths). They are guided to a place where they have a clear understanding of their strengths and how to start applying them in their young lives.

The class of 2012 and 2013 gave the programme an overall rating of 94% and 98% respectively, all agreeing that it had a big impact on their professional and personal lives. They specifically gave a 91% rating in 2013, for the level of growth they’ve experienced with regards to their field of study, as well as their understanding of the fields of industrial engineering and physical asset management as a whole. The programme is continually reviewed and improved upon. The last two years’ feedback results are testimony to it.”

Pieterse concludes: “Pragma believes that through this programme we manage to equip the students with a solid grounding in the field of Physical Asset Management. South Africa is in dire need of engineers that understand the importance of managing our country’s physical assets (roads, water treatment plants, power stations and electrical distribution networks, mines, manufacturing facilities, hospitals, etc.). Our country needs this focus in order to stay globally competitive, but also to ensure a sustainable future for South Africans in need of proper infrastructure and good service delivery. We view this programme as an important opportunity to attract the brightest young talent from South Africa’s Universities. Furthermore, Pragma also gets the opportunity to introduce future engineers to physical asset management and the value that could be unlocked by responsible asset owners when partnering with us. Lastly, we simply have the opportunity to give back to the youth of South Africa and to build into the lives of young people and the start of their career journeys via the valuable life stories and lessons from some of Pragma’s senior personnel.”

Students that would like to be taken into consideration for the 2014 programme can register their details on Pragma’s potential employee database, via the link on the careers page on Pragma’s website www.pragmaworld.net.

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