Paramount Group has announced the launch of a unique engineering mentorship and training programme, aimed at fast tracking young engineers by equipping them with the skills and experience required to excel in the workplace, while ensuring a sustainable talent pool for its current and future skills requirements.
Bridging the gap between university and the workplace, the 18 month-long Young Engineers Development Programme (YEDP) will immerse and rotate engineers across all of Paramount’s manufacturing businesses, exposing them to world-leading technologies and innovations in the land, sea and air domains. Through a rigorous selection process, a group of nine recently graduated engineers were selected from a shortlist of 103 candidates, following more than 800 applications received from across South Africa.
Martie Baumgardt, Group HR Director of Paramount Group stated: “Paramount has a wide range of capabilities, allowing these young engineers to be mentored by experienced engineering teams based at our various innovation centres, naval shipyards, and our land systems and aerospace factories. The blended training will combine traditional class room training with on-line learning, practical projects, solving real-world complex problems, assignments and case studies, and seminars by external thought leaders and experts in their fields.
“The training will also cover soft skills development such as EQ, diversity appreciation, and conflict resolution. The aim is to develop a well-rounded and workplace-ready engineer, who is not only fully competent in his/her specialisation, but will also develop competence in areas such as leadership, project management, supply chain, production, and finances.”
Through this programme, the company is pro-actively addressing local engineering skills shortages through the YEDP which will enable experienced senior engineers within the company to share their skills and decades-long experience with the selected young engineers.
In their first week at the company, participants in the YEDP were exposed to a packed programme that included an introduction to the company, a special session on the different career paths open to professional engineers, and presentations from senior engineers from within the subsidiary companies on current and new technologies, and future development plans and projects.
Participants in the YEDP toured the manufacturing facilities at Paramount’s Midrand Campus, including a fully robotic electronics production line, a high-tech water jet parts cutting facility, an armoured vehicle welding line and final assembly plant, and a visit to its state-of-the-art aircraft manufacturing facility north of Pretoria.
“My first week at Paramount was completely amazing,” said Thabo Tlale, a recently graduated engineer who grew up in a small village near Rustenburg called Dikebu. “I had no idea how many amazing technologies Paramount has expertise in,” said the young engineer who recently graduated from University of Johannesburg, and the first to graduate as an engineer in his family.
“The company made us feel like VIPs, and we received all types of amazing training in the first few weeks,” said Tlale, adding: “I feel very optimistic about my future, and very privileged to be working on an exciting UAV programme. Week two was pretty tough because we had to hit the ground running with the first test flight coming up. I was tasked with complex materials strength calculations, and we were all under so much pressure and learning fast.”
Baumgardt added: “These young engineers are at the very beginning of their careers and their personal growth is very important for the long-term prosperity of our business. They are our next generation of engineers and the future of the company. We are investing heavily in them.”