CHIETA graduate programme gives young professionals a lifeline

A one-million Rand partnership between the Chemical Education and Training Authority (CHIETA) and Adcock Ingram is changing the lives of young graduates by seeking to bridge the gap between theory and the work environment.

A total of 46 graduates, comprising 16 supported by Adcock Ingram and 30 funded by CHIETA, are currently receiving mentorship at one of the pharmaceutical giants. Since its inception in 2013, the CHIETA funded programme has shaped the lives of hundreds of professionals who have been equipped with job related and scarce skills in South Africa.

Young professionals who had not imagined reaching certain levels have now found themselves at the apex of one of the leading pharmaceutical companies, thanks to the placement programme.

One such beneficiary is Sauli Tsiu, who was attached to Adcock’s consumer division before moving to logistics, and eventually the Human Capital department during a stint with the company.

 “The Adcock graduate programme changed my life,” said Tsiu, a Bachelor of Arts in Human Capital graduate.  

“When I enrolled for the programme I was demotivated and my self-esteem was low but the training boosted my confidence’’.

“The programme improved my communication skills, relationship with my colleagues and the mentorship played a great role in changing my life.”  

Adcock received 1.1 million Rand from CHIETA‘s Discretionary Grant funding window during the 2017/18 financial year and will help a new crop of college graduates acquire experience in analytical chemistry.

Other graduates were placed in Adcock’s support departments where they will apply their theoretical knowledge to the workplace within their year of placement. This paid dividends for Mashlin Manaka, a Human Capital practitioner, as she got full-time employment at Adcock after the graduate placement programme in 2016.

Manaka believes the programme opened the doors for her to join the corporate world.

“I joined Adcock when I had no idea about the corporate world and I started off as a filing clerk before moving into the human capital department,” Manaka said.

“After graduation I was given a six month contract before I got another long term contract.

“My mentor has an open door policy and I did not have any challenges in settling in. The sky is the limit.”

For Susan Maketi, a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) graduate now employed as a Fees Administrator at Adcock Ingram, the graduate placement programme shaped her professional life.  Maketi attributed her growth to the working environment at the company where she benefited from associating with experienced administrators.

“I felt part of the team from the beginning because I was treated like an employee and not a student,” she said.  “I attained communication and writing skills from the training.
“The training requires dedication and hard work but it lays a very good foundation for professionals.”

A representative of Adcock Ingram, Madelein Ross, Group Learning and Development Head said the Graduate Placement Programme was targeted mainly at addressing the shortage of skills in industry.
The programme targets graduates with qualifications in engineering, marketing, finance and logistics etc. The graduates are initially recruited to receive one year work experience where they are also taught project management skills.  

“Some of them will be given permanent jobs or fixed term contracts depending on their performance and availability of vacancies,” Madelein said:

 “They can be absorbed into our workforce even before the end of their fixed term contract but they will still continue with their learnerships.”

It is pleasing to note that half of the graduates recruited into the Graduate Placement Programme are females. Adcock Ingram uses the CHIETA Supply Side Demand Database (SSDD), which is a web-based initiative that contains a pool of qualified learners and graduates seeking work integrated learning and employment; and on rare occasions, recruitment agents, to recruit the graduates.  Recruitment is a continuous process, which means that at any given time there are graduates undergoing training.

“Both the mentor and learner take the responsibility in ensuring that there is a proper up skilling of the graduate,” Madelein said.

There is a development programme for the graduates to ensure performance is monitored and managers send them on applicable and necessary training as per requirements.

“They come in as graduates and climb up the ladder based on their performance, willingness to succeed and availability of vacancies.”

CHIETA Acting CEO Ms Kedibone Moroane said the authority was overwhelmed by Adcock Ingram’s commitment to the programme.
“We are excited to see the amount of effort Adcock Ingram is putting into this programme,” she said.

“The youth need skills out there and to have an organisation as big as Adcock Ingram supporting a Graduate Programme, which extends an arm to the underprivileged in particular says a lot about the importance of skills development in our country.”

Ms Moroane said Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) such as CHIETA were well positioned to change South Africa’s skills development landscape.
“As the chemical industry sector, we want to ensure that the training that happens is fit for purpose and there is not much of a transition from a training perspective to the employment arena.”