The partnership between the Polytechnic of Namibia and the Namibian German Centre for Logistics (NGCL) is proving successful with the first batch of honours graduates entering the corporate world. Lee Goliath and Tunomukumo Shaanika spoke to the Economist concerning their honours programme which involved a 6-month exchange programme at Flensburg University of Applied Science in Germany. This exchange was part of their honours programme and it helped build a nexus between their studies and future work in the discipline of logistics.
Currently working at Transworld Cargo, the students recall their 2012 experience in Germany. They attended various relevant courses that broadened their area of study in logistics such as Strategic Management, Exploring Foreign Markets, Business Intelligence, International Logistics and Maritime Studies. They also studied German as a major European trade language.
Other than academic classes the honour's programme involved an industrial attachment at a German logistics company. "Whilst in Germany we did an internship in Frankfurt at Hellman Worldwide Logistics. We were based mainly in the air import/export department as well as the cargo consolidation department. This experience has really given us one foot in the door as to what the industry is about" explained Lee. According to Tunomukumo, the courses taken in the programme and the exchange programme experience proved to be vital. "The course prepared us with hard skills (theoretical aspect) and a great foundation to learn the system used by different companies, giving us the knowledge that its required by the industry. However, we believe with the training we are receiving from Transworld Cargo, we will obtain practical experience in the core activity of freight forwarding."
According to Tunomukumo, certain considerations should be taken up by either the Polytechnic or NGCL to enhance the logistics programme and to give students a competitive edge. She feels that "It should be mandatory for students to have practical experience (minimum 6 month) during their studies. Students should have more access to lectures outside the immediate ambit of academic training. They must also be exposed to new research on the practical aspects of logistics.
Furthermore, she urges that each student's research supervisor should hail from a different dynamic area of logistics to expose students to all aspects of the discipline.
About her most recent work experience she says "Being in the environment of distribution logistics (forwarding company), this seems to interest me a lot. I believe as time goes by and after acquiring exposure in different aspect of logistics, I will know in which area to specialize."
Echoing the sentiments of her colleague, the work experience seems to be crucial also for Lee for future specialisation in logistics and to have a grasp of the field. She says "The degree course was designed to target all areas of logistics to give us an overview of this dynamic field."
"Currently I am working at the clearing and freight forwarding at Transworld Cargo and this is very interesting. I am learning a lot about importing and will soon get added skills for exporting as well."
The two said " The course can open many doors. I would advise students who are really interested in the course to ensure they read a lot about the industry. Attend the annual workshops that are provided by the NGCL in order to get acquainted with the various business leaders."