Growing your asset management talent

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The growing interest and importance of asset management globally and especially in the South African market is presenting a challenge to organisations as to how they can best keep their engineering or asset management resources up to date with the many facets and best practices that are emerging from think-tanks like ISO and GFMAM. A workshop on this interesting topic will be presented at the inaugural SAAMA (Southern African Asset Management Association) physical asset management conference, which takes place from 12 to 14 May 2014at the CTICC in Cape Town.

Says Tim Beavon, Partner Support Manager at Pragma: “Pragma, as a leading provider of asset management services, is keenly aware of this challenge since it cuts to the heart of our value proposition in the market. The workshop is a case study of the holistic approach that Pragma has taken to continuous professional development in the field of asset management, and how Pragma is meeting the challenge head-on with a highly engaged workforce in a diverse and distributed environment.”

From Bloom’s taxonomy, ADDIE principles and life skills, Pragma is equipping their asset practitioners with the skills and resources to ensure that they are seen as the subject matter experts in the Asset Management field. The workshop will look at three approaches to continuous professional development:

·       Life skills which translate into know yourself, understand your strengths, what engages you and understand what you want from your career, and how you would like to shape your future. This part of the workshop will be facilitated by Stéphan Pieterse. Stéphan is a People and Organisational Development Specialist and an expert in his field. He will share some of the detail content Pragma uses in its development programme.

·       Tim Beavon will facilitate a section on e-learning i.e. creating an environment that is conducive to self-study and the sharing of knowledge using technology that is freely available. This also entails providing skills that asset practitioners can apply in a sanitised environment before applying it in their every day situation, as well as utilising net-meeting technology to provide support and feedback to practitioners, and.

·       Billy Wilson, Pragma’s Academy Manager will share information about classroom style learning, using the traditional style of teaching and learning for the specialised topics where subject matter experts can interact with learners in a face-to-face environment, allowing for opportunities to learn from the masters in asset management.”

Adds Billy Wilson, “Industry continues to experience a massive shortage of competent artisans, planners and engineers. The onus is simply that of the private sector to create internal capacity through the various vehicles of training. Although e-learning is fast becoming the order of the day, research has shown that the most effective learning path is not instructor led and/or classroom style training, and nor is it e-learning. It’s simply a good combination of both which is required in order to ensure the best results for a learner to gain maximum retention of the knowledge. This is coupled with further on the job training. It’s more prevalent today than ever before that a blended learning approach shows the best results by far than any other approach on its own.”

Wilson continues: “At the Pragma Academy, we have recently completed the developed of an Asset Management training framework, which covers all facets of physical asset management called the Certificate in Physical Asset Management (CPAM). It’s aligned to PAS 55. A few minor tweaks will be done to ensure alignment to ISO 55000 as well as GFMAM’s 39 subjects. The 3-year certificate, which is divided into three streams, Strategic stream, Tactical stream and an Operational stream, can now effectively be used as a road map for career development within Physical Asset Management to assist staff to grow into a management role within the Asset Management environment, aimed at improving physical asset management practices throughout Africa, irrespective of the organisation’s specific CMMS, EAMS or even their industry.”

The Pragma Academy is further in the process of implementing a highly sophisticated LMS, as it is widely known, which will not only serve as a Learner Management System, but also as a Learning Management System. Says Wilson: “Where it makes sense portions of the instructor-lead courses will be converted to e-learning courses. Thus saving the learners valuable time and money. It will also serve the learners in a much more efficient way than they are used to with training providers, as they will be able to gain direct access to the system for all their own records. Another aim of the academy is to ensure its alignment and accreditation with SAAMA in order to offer the formal training which a learner can gain from a Physical Asset Management qualification, which is in the pipeline for development and release by SAAMA.”


The case study will conclude with an overview of the benefits that have been apparent in the learning approach that has been taken by Pragma over the last two years. Adds Beavon: “Benefits include accessibility - no longer is the ‘classroom’ restricted to the views and opinions of the select few in a single geographic location. The use of technology allows us to expand the classroom as far as the Internet and connectivity will allow. At minimal cost a broad spectrum of learners with different frames of reference can be drawn together to offer their insight and views of the syllabus being presented.”

Another benefit is flexibility. Continues Beavon: “Being integrated into the web means that current or topical material can easily be incorporated into the content of the course and can be stored for easy reference purposes. Variety is another benefit e.g. the use of blogs and encouraging interaction between students enable them to relate, learn and teach each other. As learners grapple to phrase their interpretation of the content, so they are forced to wrestle with the concepts, deepening their understanding.”

Active learning has a further benefit with the use of on-line quizzes and resources, which allow students to test their understanding of the content in a neutral environment at their own time or pace. Says Beavon: “Interactive sessions with other students and the course facilitator provide an opportunity for debate and discussion to clarify concepts. Lastly, there is a huge benefit with regards to costs and workforce flexibility. Blended learning minimises the costs of travel and accommodation associated with traditional classroom type training. In addition, the learning process can be stretched out over weeks allowing students to take their learning back into the workplace for application and experimentation during the learning process. This allows for mentoring type discussions when the results are not perhaps in line with the expectations.”

Says Stéphan: “Pragma has long been focusing on creating an engaged workforce and the development of our workforce has helped to create an engaged group of people willing to put in discretionary effort when required. It has also contributed to the bottom line. Just how much? Come and join us at the workshop!”

Concludes Wilson: “Our commitment is to the industry, ensuring that we do our bit to ensure the world of Asset Management continues to evolve to the highest level of expertise through skills development and the clear creation of a career path within the Physical Asset Management arena.”

Asset Management service providers are invited to co-exhibit at the SAAMA Asset Management Pavilion at the co-located African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa exhibition. Companies are also invited to participate in the SAAMA awards and get a clear understanding of their asset management maturity and a road map to PAS 55 compliance and ISO 55000 certification.

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