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The village of Teluk Dalam in Indonesia’s Riau Province is so remote that the nearest big city is a three-hour boat ride away. So the villagers are understandably proud of local resident Yogi Suardiwerianto, who returned recently after completing a Master’s degree in the Netherlands, supported by APRIL Group.

Yogi, aged 30, first studied at the Department of Marine Science at Bogor Agricultural Institute before returning to Riau in 2011 to look for work. He found a job as Assistant Trainee in the Peatland Management Department of APRIL Group subsidiary Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper, which is one of the largest employers in the area.

In 2015 his supervisor asked Yogi if he would be interested in continuing his studies at Master’s level, with all the costs covered by APRIL Group as part of its commitment to continuously invest in its employees.

“I do not know exactly why I was chosen by my boss to join the program.

“However I wanted to pursue higher education and keep learning, so I listened to my boss’ advice about taking the opportunity,” he said.

Before he could begin his Master’s degree, Yogi and his colleagues in the program had to undergo a number of learning tasks set by APRIL. With that successfully completed he was officially approved for the program, but there was a problem: as his Bachelor’s degree was unrelated to the chosen field of study, many universities rejected his application.

Fortunately Yogi’s tough upbringing had forged a strong mentality, and he was eventually accepted to the Water Science and Engineering program at IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, the Netherlands.

"It was a long struggle to get a Master's degree at a suitable university," he said.

The first few months were the most difficult, as he missed his friends and family.

"Especially during Ramadhan, I really wanted to go back to Indonesia, back to my village. And in the Netherlands, we had to fast for more than 12 hours," said Yogi

But he persevered and applied himself to his studies. “If you want to succeed then you have to make peace with yourself, and show your determination.”

"I realized that I had to finish everything to give the best for the people that I loved, including APRIL Group which funded my studies in full," he said.

In less than two years Yogi was able to complete his studies, returning to Indonesia having scored a GPA of 7.7 out of 10.

Yogi returned to work in APRIL Group, and began to apply the engineering sciences that he learned in the Netherlands, especially the Hydraulic Modeling system. Now, alongside one of his departmental counterparts, Yogi is applying cutting edge technology he learned from his study to help the company better manage its land.

His journey has been a long one, but Yogi says he welcomes the opportunity to demonstrate that a humble background should not limit your ambitions. He is also happy to be able to give back to the company that has invested so heavily in him.

"I never expected to get this far. To be honest, at first I thought this was too much for someone from a small village. But thanks to the support of my family and my boss, finally it all came through.”

APRIL Group continuously invests in employees’ talent development by providing support such as scholarships, welfare benefits and training programs.

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