Putting knowledge and skills to work while gaining practical experience

Tjihero is part of the Pupkewitz Megabuild Graduate Programme

25 September 2020 | People

Michelline Nawatises

Sandra Tjihero was born and raised in Windhoek and is the eldest of four children. She matriculated at Waldorf School Windhoek in 2013 and furthered her studies for an associate degree in business at North Seattle College in the United States. After completing her associate’s degree in 2016, she returned home and enrolled for full-time studies towards a Bachelor of Commerce degree in economics and management at Rhodes University in South Africa, which she completed in 2019. Tjihero is currently pursuing an honours degree at the Namibia University of Science and Technology, which she plans to complete by 2021.

Graduate programme experience

The graduate programme provides recent graduates with an opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge acquired through tertiary training within a formal work environment. The graduates are supported by active mentoring to gain experience in specific departments or be part of the structured rotation programme which allows them to gain experience in different departments.

The critical building blocks of this programme is to allow graduates to gain general work ethics, good grounding in applied sciences through formal on-the-job training and, importantly, carry out self-assessments to identify personal passion and set realistic medium- to long-term professional career goals.

Tjihero is passionate about any intellectual challenge, and as a recent graduate, she identified the Pupkewitz Megabuild graduate programme as an ideal opportunity to put her knowledge and skills to work while gaining practical experience within a professional work environment. The programme was of particular interest to her because upon acceptance, she would be learning and gaining well-grounded work experience at of one of Namibia’s premier companies.

Generally, the programme covers a variety of carefully choreographed activities. In her specific assignment, she provides support to the operations executive by running daily reports on the Kerridge Commercial System, preparing monthly operational reports, and carrying out other ad-hoc operational tasks as assigned to her.

She constantly aligns her career and workplace expectations to the desired outcomes of the programme to ensure that there is a near perfect fit between the two. “I have grown professionally in terms of general commercial awareness and self-confidence,” she says.

Based on Tjihero’s experience, her advice to young people would be to have a clear vision supported by realistic goals about their future career prospects and to carefully seek out specific opportunities on offer, such as the Megabuild graduate programme, to gain proper work exposure.

“It is undoubtedly a great learning experience which equips you with valuable skills and sets you up for improved chances of success in your future career. Importantly, gaining work experience is key to boosting a recent graduate’s employability in a tight job market like in Namibia,” she says. “Therefore, I would advise graduates to take the opportunity and apply for the programme.”

Given the strong foundation of work experience that she has gained over the past seven months at Megabuild, the world is her oyster when it comes to future career plans. “Right now, the immediate plan is to finish my honours degree, which I consider to be a critical foundation qualification for both my future career and self-development,” she says.

The best phase in her life was living and studying abroad as it offered her the best of both worlds, academically and culturally. “It was an absolutely enriching experience,” she says.

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