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Arif Budiman had no idea how much his life would be better when he decided to apply for a scholarship from Tanoto Foundation in 2010. Seven years later Arif, now aged 27, works for Asian Agri as an estate assistant on Aek Nabara Estate in North Sumatra, where he is responsible for 855 hectares of plantation.

His main job is to monitor the planting, maintenance, and harvesting process in the plantation, and he has no doubt that joining the company was the right decision. “I had no doubt about working for Asian Agri, because it is a big and stable company. I also want to explore more about the palm oil industry, so Asian Agri is the right place to learn,” he said.

Not only does he get to learn more about the industry, but he can now support his family financially. “From my earnings I can help to support my sister’s college tuition fees. I am pleased to be able to help my family,” explained Arif, who is the second of three children.

Arif graduated from University of Riau (UNRI) in 2013 and immediately began his career at Asian Agri as a trainee. Before he could join as a permanent employee, he had to train at the Asian Agri Learning Institute (AAALI) for six months. 

“When I was in AAALI, I was trained to be independent and strong, mentally and physically. They also trained us to be disciplined. It changed me a lot, in a positive way.”

His first position in Asian Agri was as a mentoring assistant for four months. After that, Arif became an assistant in Bahilang estate, North Sumatra, and later became a replanting assistant. In his current role he is known as an estate assistant, which means he is responsible for monitoring plantation.

The new role has been challenging as he needs to manage both the plantation’s environmental aspects and its people to ensure that production targets are met. As each area has a large number of people from employees and managers to smallholders, it is important for everyone to share the same vision, he said. “So it is important to have good communication skills, to make sure every process runs properly.” 

To achieve his career, he had to come a long way, and it all began when he earned a National Championship Scholarship from Tanoto Foundation back in 2010 to study Agribusiness at UNRI. He first heard about the scholarship from a friend and decided to apply. “I thank Tanoto Foundation for easing my financial burden back in college. Not only financially, because Tanoto Foundation’s program also helped me to develop myself to become more knowledgeable,” Arif recalled.

As part of his studies, Arif undertook a two-month internship at Asian Agri in Riau, which enabled him to increase his knowledge about the industry.

Arif is grateful for what he has achieved so far, but his ambitions do not end here. Now, his dream is to undertake postgraduate study to further his career in the agribusiness industry.

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