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Project Management student gets promoted to senior position at mining company

Project Management
  • Oct 10
  • Tags Project Management, Alumni, Promotion, Mining, Construction, USB students

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USB student Wayne Smit, who is enrolled for the Postgraduate Diploma in Project Management as ARPL (Assessment and Recognition of Prior Learning) candidate, was recently promoted to Construction Superintendent for the Palabora Lift ll Project of the Palabora Mining Company. The project is worth over R9 billion.

“The Lift II Project involves the collaboration of 48 sub-projects, both on surface and underground. This includes the construction of a surface processing plant, underground batch plant and the development of a twin decline and Lift II production area – all at an estimated cost of over R9 billion,” he says.

Here he shares his journey at USB:

I live in Phalaborwa and started working for Palabora Mining Company in 2003 when I was 18 years old. Originally I qualified as a Millwright (Mechanical & Electrical Trade) and ended up years’ later working in mining and construction projects as an inspector. I was promoted to Engineering Construction Specialist in 2017 and then recently to Construction Superintendent – as a result from the qualification I am obtaining from USB (Postgraduate Diploma in Project Management). My main line of work is planning and managing construction & mechanical projects, especially underground as well as forming part of BRR projects all over the mine.

 When I started in projects as an inspector I felt that I needed to equip myself better for this role. I enrolled for Project Management short courses and it was during this time that I met Prof Herman Steyn who told me about the PGDip in Project Management at USB. He told me that it would be possible for me to be accepted in this course based on ARPL. So this is what I did.

“This is probably one of the most informative and comprehensive Project Management courses I have done.”

I decided to study at USB because it is the only university that offers this programme at NQF 8 level and it has multiple accreditations. However, the main reason for me is that the school was highly recommended by Prof Herman Steyn – the father of project management.

 This is probably one of the most informative and comprehensive Project Management courses I have done. I have learned so much! However, if I have to single one thing out it would be how I learned to create a dashboard and portfolio to manage the multiple projects I am responsible for. This is maybe the one thing that helps me keep on track with my projects and helps me manage their budgets and quality.

 “One of the highlights for me was being able to experience the amount of project experience that came with the lecturers and to gain from their wisdom.”

I stay in the most Northern part of our country but was fortunate enough to travel to Cape Town once every three months over a period of two years. One of the highlights for me was being able to experience the amount of project experience that came with the lecturers and to gain from their wisdom.

 I challenge for me was to balance my work and studies. My job requires a lot of time on site and in meetings and that meant that I had little time at night to study and complete my assignments. Also, every third month I had to leave site for at least 10 days to travel and attend class. This was challenging because I had to appoint a competent person in my place to manage while I was gone. However, the reward of completing this degree is all worth it.

 My new role’s responsibilities will include the following three categories:

  • Creating Value
  • Aligning People
  • Getting Results

“This is probably one of the most informative and comprehensive Project Management courses that I have done. One of the highlights for me was being able to gain from my lecturers’ wisdom.”

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