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2020 / 2021 Edition

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CEMEX scheme for graduates

Three graduates who joined CEMEX UK will be living out of their suitcases for most of this year, as they travel around the country to get to know the ins and outs of the quarrying industry.

Alejandro Ibarra, Eoiun McGonigle and Akin Ustun are the first graduates to join the CEMEX Professionals in Development programme in the UK. The scheme focuses on developing the next generation of CEMEX managers; internationally mobile, proficient professionals who are able to meet the company’s growth needs.

By the end of the 12-month programme, it is hoped that the trio will have familiarized themselves with the major aspects of the business in order to appreciate the different operations and functions within the industry.

To join the Professionals in Development programme, CEMEX look for graduates with strong academic backgrounds, who can speak two or more languages, including English, and are willing to work abroad. Candidates must also show leadership ability and initiative, as well as having strong analytical, teamwork and communication skills.  

Having met such criteria, the three graduates are working in their preferred areas – Mr Ibarra in strategic planning and both Mr McGonigle and Mr Ustun in the cement division. They are also expected to spend time learning in other core parts of CEMEX.  

A ‘hands-on’ approach to learning is encouraged, and there is an emphasis on ‘job shadowing’. The graduates have to submit a report each time they complete an element of the programme – known as ‘rotation’. They also have to take part in continuous improvement projects, presenting results to the Regional Learning Council, where they are evaluated as each rotation is finished and then asked for their views on the programme’s quality.

Each graduate is paired with a mentor; a member of management who speeds the learning process and gives career guidance.

Like the others, Mr Ibarra joined CEMEX in September last year after an initial interview and two separate evaluation sessions. He had just completed a Masters degree in international business in London, having moved from Monterrey in Mexico, where he obtained an industrial engineering degree.

‘I wanted to work for CEMEX since my university days in Monterrey when we used to read case studies about the company,’ he said. Mr Ibarra’s aim is to stay with the business for the long term and to rise to the highest level possible.

Mr McGonigle, who comes from Limavady in Northern Ireland, has a Masters in chemical engineering from Queen’s University, Belfast, and was attracted to CEMEX after reading about the programme in a careers publication.

‘One of the main attractions for me is that overseas travel is actively encouraged,’ he said. ‘I am looking forward to working in operations in different countries to broaden my knowledge, both professionally and personally.’

At CEMEX, Mr McGonigle wants to progress as quickly as possible, contributing to the company’s drive for growth, improvement and success.

Meanwhile, it was an advertisement in The Economist that caught Mr Ustun’s attention. He subsequently searched the company’s website and was impressed by CEMEX’s credentials as a competitive, thriving organization. An industrial engineering graduate from Turkey, Mr Ustun also holds an MBA from the University of East London.

‘In the future, I would like to be part of the post-merger integration team working in different countries,’ he said. ‘I love travelling and would enjoy creating new systems across the world to help the company grow.’

CEMEX Group, Coldharbour Lane, Thorpe, Egham, Surrey; TW20 8TD; tel: (01932) 568833; fax: (01932) 568933; website:

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