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Article by Nampak 20 September 2013

Attracting young graduates to packaging is a challenge

“Attracting young graduates to the packaging industry is a challenge and an opportunity,” says Fezekile Tshiqi, Nampak’s Group Human Resources Director.

“Although they interact with packaging on a daily basis, very few have any real knowledge or understanding of the careers that are available. Like the vast majority of ordinary people, they don’t grasp the complexity and science of the different substrates (namely glass, metal, paper and plastics, [Status]), particularly in terms of the varying approaches regarding business management, manufacturing technologies and supply chain processes.”

As a result, the marketing of Nampak’s graduate development programme was revised to provide a more comprehensive introduction to the exciting world of packaging. University career fairs and word-of-mouth remain the primary means of driving awareness and facilitating engagement.

In line with the strategic priorities of the Nampak group, key focus areas are Engineering (Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical and Industrial, [Status]) and Accounting/Finance. Examples of some of the careers that are on offer are:

• Research and development
Chemistry / Food science and technology/ Knowledge and information management/ Materials science / Microbiology
• Design
Graphic design/ Industrial design (e.g. CAD/CAM, FEA, etc., [Status])
• Logistics
Distribution, transport and warehousing management/ Supply Chain management/ Purchasing management / Planning
• Operations
Chemical engineering / Industrial engineering/ Mechanical engineering/ Electrical Engineering/Operations management/Production management/Maintenance management/Process Engineering
• Marketing and Sales
Consumer, industrial, product and service marketing/ Forecasting and planning/ Internal and external sales/ Key account management
• Service and support

• Environmental management/ Finance/ Human Resources/ / Legal services and administration.

Nampak’s two-year graduate development programme includes work experience and academic study, involving group and individual assignments. The young graduates who come on board are placed in real roles, where they earn a market-related salary are exposed to, a wide range of functional disciplines and acquire many new skills. “By means of a carefully coordinated and systemitised approach, they’re moved around the business to explore areas of interest and find their niche. This is very important, as many young people study one field and end up spending their lives elsewhere,” says Tshiqi.

While support from professional colleagues is key to the learning experience, travelling to Nampak manufacturing facilities around South Africa provides a unique perspective that enables adaptability and versatility in workplaces defined by complexity, diversity and the promise of possibility. The Gordon Institute of Business (GIBS, [Status]) manages all academic courses., customized to the Nampak way.

“Given the growing emphasis on Africa’s emerging economies, graduates from Nampak’s development programme have a rare advantage in terms of their marketability and capacity to deliver across businesses and geographies. But, very few choose to make a move: the Nampak retention rate is a competitive 80%! This figure is definitive proof that there are attractive careers in packaging.”

Feedback from the latest graduate development programme reaffirms this positive reality:

• There are so many opportunities to grow.
• I have learnt different cultures, processes and systems.
• My generalist knowledge in my field of work has developed.
• I am where I am because of the graduate development programme.
• I was given the freedom to find myself whilst being mentored in a safe environment.
• I must say I love the environment.
• Nampak is diverse. From the people to the nature of the business. There is so much to explore.
• The Nampak employee’s career always evolves for the better as they spend time with the organisation, lyou can start your career as an engineer and then end up as a manager.
• Nampak grows with employees by offering training in preparation for future changes.
• I have grown so much since I came to Nampak… The environment has challenged me and helped me grow in all angles of my life.

Since 2001, approximately 240 graduates have completed the programme and over R20 million has been invested in the process of accelerating the development of the company’s future leadership and achieving its transformation targets.
Some of the Graduate Programme alumni who have built successful careers in Nampak include:

• Banguvuyo Dlani (2001, [Status]), Site Engineer, Nampak Bevcan
• Nhlanhla Nhlapo (2002, [Status]) Business Analyst, Nampak Corrugated
• Mpho Mayephu (2002, [Status]), Management Accountant, Nampak Megapak
• Sean Mainstone, (2002, [Status]), Regional Sales manager, Nampak Flexibles
• Lerato Masha (2003, [Status]), Factory manager, Nampak Tubes
• Nthabeleng Thoabala (2003, [Status]), Marketing manager, Nampak Flexibles
• Ntshembo Malwandla (2003, [Status]), Production manager, Nampak Corrugated
• Vimbai Benza (2003, [Status]), Finance manager, Nampak Flexibles
• Sithembiso Mnguni (2005, [Status]), Conversion manager, Nampak Corrugated
• Koketso Makola (2008, [Status]), HR manager, Nampak Corrugated
• Phaphama Malashe (2008, [Status]), Key Account manager, Nampak Flexibles
• Sthokozille Malinga (20090, Commercial Accountant, Nampak Bevcan

To qualify for the Nampak graduate development programme, applicants must have a BSc, BCom or BA degree in, engineering, accounting/finance, , logistics, marketing, supply chain or human resources. Only online applications are considered. The closing date for next year’s intake is 30 September 2013. Depending on the requirements of the company, there are roughly 30 places a year available.
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