Motivating factors that influence employees to access the study assistance programme at Shell & BP South African Petroleum Refineries (Pty) Ltd.
Mbambo, Nompumelelo Letticia.
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This study explored the motivating factors that influence the employees’ decision to access the Study Assistance Programme at Shell & BP South African Petroleum Refineries (Pty) Ltd (SAPREF). These factors are key in understanding the main drivers for the success of this programmed. They can be used in attracting more employees who have similar needs, to make use of this programme. Employees who have made use of the study assistance programme were participants of this study. A qualitative research methodology was employed as the researcher did not want to predict the possible factors that could have led the participants to access this programme. The qualitative research method offered a way to elicit information in a non-prescriptive manner. Participants were interviewed by the use of semi-structured interviews. This gave the interviewer a structure to follow and focus in order to elicit the relevant responses but also the freedom to probe where there was a need to dig deeper. Data was analyzed using content analysis. This analytic method was used due to its descriptive nature to data analysis in qualitative approaches. It also allowed the researcher to apply low level of interpretation to the data. This was important to achieve in this study as the results needed to be as authentic as possible in order to ensure the validity of the study. The main themes that emerged from the data collected were; (i) access and availability of funding – all permanent employees have access to this funding opportunity and there are no waiting periods which is often the case in other companies where one has to be in the employ of the organization for a certain period of time before qualifying, (ii) career progression – participants see this as a career progression tool as there is a feeling that opportunities will arise and those that have develop themselves are in a better position to be awarded such, (iii) the need for self-development – participants articulated the need to growth and self-development in order to stay abreast of development and best practice in industry, (iv) career change – this programme was also seen as a vehicle to drive one to a change in career without having to leave employment to study for that new career, and lastly (v) a psychological contract with the company – this was seen a way of committing oneself to the company for a period of time. There are participants who are happy to be tied to the company as they see a benefit in return.