Professional Work Experience (PWE) engagements give students the opportunity to get practical in the industry, and students also have the responsibility of maintaining professionalism throughout this training period.

These were the sentiments shared by OK Tedi Mining Limited’s General Manager Engineering, Infrastructure & Projects Franz Hemetsberger, during a recent guest presentation at the Rose Kekedo Lecture Theatre (RKLT).

Mr. Hemetsberger who is passionate about seeing students gain work experience, told those present that they become ambassadors of the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (PNGUoT) out on the field, and their professionalism will reflect on the institution.
He shared his experience regarding the engagement and communication skills of various trainees out on the field, saying
supervisors take note of the behaviour of students which can affect any future engagements of the student, or the institution
they attend.
“When you get the opportunity to go into Franz Hemetsterberger speaking to students after the presentation at RKLT, Taraka Campus– Lae. industrial training… make it easy for them. Don’t cause problems because as soon as you start causing
problems out there, it compromises the program.”

“I had some students in the early days that come through and they would sit before me and I would have my first talk with them…some of them… their attitude wasn’t very good. I remember one student who used to sit on the phone… and typing
away when we were trying to talk and have this engagement with them… that was the reality and its gotten better.”

As part of the university’s requirements to accredit all the engineering courses, students are expected to meet their academic
requirements, and complete 450 hours of Professional Work Experience in order to graduate with their respective degrees.
Dean of the School of Engineering Dr Syed Shoeb said this is a requirement that is being implemented in consultation with the
industry. It allows students to complete their theory lessons, complemented by work experience throughout the four years
of study.

Dr Shoeb said this will give students the opportunity to experience the industry first hand, and will ease their
transition from being students to employees.

“We don’t want students just graduating and going to any job and they don’t know what’s going on because on the job, there’s completely different environment.”
“So when they had PWE, at least they know what the employer is expecting from them… So once they graduate, they at least have that idea of what the industry is expecting from them and then it’s easy to transition. That’s the advantage of having PWE.”

Mr. Hemetsberger said both the industry and the institution can benefit from the PWE arrangement, and the programs need to be reviewed and tailored to meet the requirements and needs of both parties.
He advised the students to be curious and ask questions when they are out doing PWE, and to learn as much as possible.
“You have to really play your part, don’t compromise the program…when you go and represent your university, do the right thing. You turn up on time. Don’t sleep in. Learn as much as you can.”
“Be humble, because there is an attitude that we have to try and demonstrate and this is coming back to the values of Unitech; High ethical standards, professionalism, diversity & inclusivity, innovation & initiative, pride and passion.”