Forty-two final year students from the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Technology (UTECH) Jamaica will participate in a work exposure programme with Caribbean Cement Company Ltd starting this month.

The programme, CEMEX Campus 2021 is being delivered in Jamaica for the first time and will expose students to cutting edge research and development in the cement industry, state-of-the-art technology and the operations of a multinational company. Leaders and technical experts of the Caribbean Cement Company and CEMEX operations will deliver presentations and provide coaching to the students during this time.

During the online launch on March 29, Carib Cement General Manager, Yago Castro, said CEMEX Campus will create linkages between youth and the future development of the construction sector in Jamaica.

“Sharing knowledge with the universities is relevant to the future of our company. There is excellent talent in Jamaica, and we see it as part of our responsibility to help students understand our work and gain insight into the industry,” he said.

Over seven weeks, students will participate in webinars on health and safety, lime operations and aggregates, cement technology, quality, sustainability, supply chain, social impact, sales, distribution, planning and, human resources management.

Chairman of Carib Cement, Parris Lyew- Ayee, said the programme will equip participants to become leaders.

“Universities today are challenged like never before. Partnerships like this one with Carib Cement and CEMEX are crucial for them to provide a fuller learning experience for their students,” Mr Lyew-Ayee, who initiated the partnership between the institutions and Carib Cement.

Participants were selected by their faculty members and are looking forward to the training. Shaneque Edwards of UTECH said she hoped for a well-rounded experience where students will grow both in technical and soft skills while Justin Gooden, of UWI anticipates that it will fill a gap created by decrease in opportunities for work exposure, due to the pandemic.

Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at UWI, Dr Adrian Lawrence, agreed that this programme will enrich the students’ preparation, while Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Computing, at UTECH, Professor Nilza Aples said the programme will help the students meet the work exposure requirements which have been hindered by the pandemic.

This programme is another of CEMEX’s youth development initiatives which includes the CEMEX Professionals in Development (PDP) programme. Since 2019, the PDP has hosted 20 graduates of UTECH, UWI and the Caribbean Maritime University, which are participating in a paid one year internship after which they were placed across the organisation.

In encouraging the students, CEMEX’s Regional Vice President of Human Resources, Juan Carlos Chaia, said CEMEX Campus has already been rolled out successfully in Panama, Nicaragua and Colombia.

“We have seen how well this has worked in Panama – the key for this to be successful is the passion with which students participate. What matters is that you learn how to think and make the connection with what is happening in the real world. This is about opportunities to learn, future employment and networking,” he said.