SAPICS initiative set to recruit and equip students for working world

SCNext, the fastest growing young professional supply chain community in the world is partnering with SAPICS, the country’s leading community of supply chain and operations management professionals, to see the local chapter of the body launched in South Africa. Created by and for young professionals, SCNext will help recruit and equip students for the working world. ‘It’s all about bridging the gap between what students learn in theory and the reality of the world of work, helping them to make a smooth transition,’ said SCNext South Africa’s President, Ayanda Khumalo. ‘But, in order to be a success, SCNext will rely heavily on experienced supply chain professionals and SAPICS members, whom we call upon to give of their time to mentor supply chain students and young professionals.’ Based at SAPICS head office, SCNext will establish student societies at campuses across the country, organising both formal and informal gatherings where SAPICS mentors will address students on a variety of topics, from finding a job to guiding them in their career path. ‘Members will also be exposed to what’s happening internationally as SCNext chapters in other countries host various events aimed at young professionals,’ she said. One such event will be the SAPICS SCNext student conference, to be held in March 2015 in Johannesburg, with smaller gatherings in Durban and Cape Town. The conference will create an opportunity for raising awareness about the career paths available in supply chain and operations management as company representatives meet face-to-face with students. ‘There is a burgeoning community of young supply chain talent that needs to be nurtured and developed in order to help build the SCM future of the country,’ said Khumalo. ‘SAPICS seems a natural fit with SCNext in achieving this goal as the youth organisation brings its expertise and resources from around the globe. These include competitions, career services, certifications, simulations, foreign exchange opportunities, start-up capital and more, all aimed towards advancement of the YP community.’ One such certification that SAPICS will be introducing next year is the Certified Supply Chain Analyst. An entry-level, internationally recognised certification, would-be supply chain professionals will be able to complete the qualification while still studying. ‘The certification is not just for students but for anyone with a matric who has an interest in supply chain – no work experience is necessary. It demonstrates to companies that the graduate has an understanding of supply chain and is a good basis for entering the field.’ The certification comprises 2.5 days of workshops, after which an exam is written. There are three levels of involvement for those wishing to connect with SCNext, according to Khumalo. ‘We’re looking for campus ambassadors who will help create awareness of both the organisation and SCM,’ said Khumalo. ‘These are people who don’t want to wait until they start working to become part of the SCM community.’ In addition to the student members, SCNext will also welcome Young Professionals. ‘These are the young guns of supply chain- working professionals whose experience ranges from recent graduates to 10 years in the field,’ she added. ‘We look forward to their contribution through ideas and actions to fulfilling the SCNext vision. ‘Last, but not least, we extend a special request for experienced mentors who will guide the next generation of leaders in supply chain. These are veterans in the industry with 10-15 years of experience dealing with complex global supply chains, as well as scholars from leading universities who will keep members abreast of cutting edge research and technologies. ‘There is an enormous need to nurture the talent in South Africa and encourage young professionals to remain patriotic to the country and continent,’ she concluded. ‘And for this important task we call on experienced SCM mentors to come forward.’ For a R200 annual fee, SCNext members will automatically become members of SAPICS and APICS, and also benefit from attending the campus gatherings and receiving all of the magazines and newsletters that are sent out. For more information, visit http://scnext.org/ PHOTO CAPTION: SCNext and SAPICS representatives at the signing ceremony during the recent APICS Conference.