Palm oil has been part of Ilham Sinaga’s life ever since his parents moved from Lubuk Pakam, Deli Serdang, North Sumatra to Rokan Hulu, Riau as part of the government’s transmigration programme in 1990.
"Since we moved to Riau, my father switched his profession and became an oil palm farmer. I am grateful that my father chose to become an oil palm farmer because it helps our family’s economy. And since then it has been my dream to have a career in the oil palm industry," said Ilham, who was born in 1998.
Ilham knew Asian Agri as one of the largest palm oil companies in Indonesia through a job fair held at Yogyakarta Stiper Agricultural Institute (Instiper), where he was studying Agrotechnology.
"After I graduated in March 2020, I immediately registered to take part in the Graduate Trainee Program from Asian Agri. I followed the process from the beginning, and thank God I was able to pass through all the processes well," said Ilham.
At first, Ilham said that he was not confident that he could pass the entire recruitment process and be accepted to join Asian Agri’s Graduate Trainee Program.
"I was not confident that I could be accepted, because my friend who had registered at the same time had received the acceptance announcement while I’m still waiting for one. Fortunately, a week later I also received the news that I was accepted too," he recalled.
After being accepted, Ilham joined the training program at the Asian Agri Learning Institute (AALI) for six months. According to him, training at AALI really helped him to improve his leadership skills, discipline and confidence.
"The training given by AALI was similar to the education given by my campus, so I was able to adapt well. AALI was very helpful in forming a strong planter character and preparing me to accept all challenges, so it was very much needed before starting the real job," Ilham added.
While at AALI, Ilham underwent on the job training as an Estate Assistant at Taman Raja Gardens, Merlung, Jambi. After that he was transferred to Bungo Tebo plantation, Jambi Province as an Quality Control Assistant until now.
Being far away from his family did not discourage him to accept the challenge, although at first he hoped to be placed in Riau or North Sumatra so he can be close to his family. But after he lived for several months in Jambi, Ilham admitted that he really enjoy his life there.
As a QC Assistant, Ilham is responsible for controlling quality in the plantation, starting from controlling the quality of the harvest so that it is in accordance with the standards set by the company, then controlling immature plants, and checking and monitoring the plantation when there is replanting.
"In addition, I’m also responsible for the quality of fertilizers and the distribution of fertilizers in the field," added Ilham.
Ilham is the youngest assistant at Bungo Tebo Plantation. This is a challenge for Ilham especially when facing a team that is older than him.
"In directing or providing discipline in the field, I usually take an amiable approach. We must not only have assertiveness but also have good communication skills," said Ilham.
According to Ilham, being part of Asian Agri is like a dream come true. He hopes to be able to improve his skills and capabilities so his career will grow along with the company.
"I am very grateful to work at Asian Agri, even though I was just joined the company in 2020, I have been trusted to be a QC Assistant. Of course this made me so proud. But I don't want to stop here, I will do my best to be the best employee for the company," he added with smile.