Our graduates talk about their career experiences and prospects
Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
As a learner technician I am undergoing training for a year. In the first semester I learnt the theoretical and practical side of the course. Now in the second semester, I, I like all other learner technicians have been designated a plant where we are assisting employees during their work shifts. This enhances the skills you have obtained from the first semester and gives you exposure to the working environment.
After successfully completing a year of training as a learner technician, I will spend 18 months serving as a candidate technician. After this is completed, I will be a full out technician.
Mathematics was introduced to me at a very tender age, by my uncle who also works for ArcelorMittal, and I grew to love the subject as time passed. I opted to go through the mathematics and sciences route, at Suncrest High school, because I knew the commitment ArcelorMittal South Africa puts into improving the performance at schools in the communities they operate in and knew this would benefit my education. I also regularly attended the ArcelorMittal science centre from grade 10.
It was through my attendance at the science centre and the support I was given that I achieved outstanding high school graduation results, which qualified me for the scholarship. With the help of the scholarship, I was able to attend the Vaal University of Technology where I studied technical engineering.
I have spoken so enthusiastically about the scholarship and the science centre so many times to friends and juniors that many applied and are now part of this development scheme.
It came with its challenges but this opportunity made possible by ArcelorMittal, was great and rewarding. The university experience gave me a sense of independence. Being able to study engineering made me work extra hard to achieve my goal of completing my studies and having a degree.
The culture here at ArcelorMittal South Africa is one of friendliness, togetherness and you start thinking of it as a home away from home.
I feel like I never need to ask for help with the employees we have here; help and assistance is always being offered and available.
Samantha Gil Prates
ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih, Ukraine
My role at ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih is to create a world-class procurement team, making sure that we deliver goods at the best possible value in terms of cost, quality, service and technology to our internal customers and stakeholders.
I am originally from Brazil, and being an expatriate has its everyday challenges. To be able to understand how cultural differences affect our business is one of the key skills needed in a global company. As a manager in Ukraine, I must be sensitive and understand that people’s behaviour is influenced by their culture, and sometimes I have to manage cross-cultural differences. Another great challenge of managing in Ukraine is to ensure proper people management via effective motivation, providing learning and development opportunities, and regularly reviewing feedback systems.
For me, the biggest support is being empowered to innovate and to take ownership of projects. Free and open discussions with the local executive board also help my career growth. I also have the opportunity to take part in navigator and mentoring programmes, and I am taking lessons in Russian.
Geert Hofstede, a social psychologist, once said: “Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster." For me, the huge diversity at ArcelorMittal is more a source of creativity and innovation. Culture shock (and its management) is perhaps where ArcelorMittal succeeds while others fail when dealing outside the home country. At the company management level, policies and codes are necessary to ensure a strong foundation.
I am very thankful for the opportunity to experience expatriate life, especially in Ukraine, which culturally and environmentally is very different from my country. The challenges have sometimes been surprising – and never regrettable.
Project representative – learning and development
As a project representative for learning and development, I am responsible for all associate and staff development programmes. These include on-boarding/orientation, associate continuing education, and I update all departmental staff training programmes. I also maintain databases for staff tracking, attrition and compensation.
Working at ArcelorMittal has been an opportunity to build on my HR knowledge in many ways. As part of the learning and development team, I have learned a lot about the skills and knowledge essential to the steel industry, from technical to staff areas. Before working here, I knew nothing about how steel is made and my position has given me the chance to learn about steelmaking and the challenges on the shop floor. Further, I have learnt a lot from working as part of a diverse workforce – an opportunity you do not get at every company.
Our company is unique, in that we are very young while also being made up of many predecessor companies – this means there are a lot of challenges from an HR perspective. There are various payroll and tracking systems, benefit plans, policies and procedures, and cultures combined into one. The challenge lies in reviewing existing programmes to develop a single, best system for employees. I have had the opportunity to be involved in projects that address this issue and it is not a simple task. However, successfully completing this kind of work will ultimately benefit everyone.
ArcelorMittal University has a wide variety of training programmes, from classroom to online training, in leadership, general business and technical skills, and I have taken some courses, including prioritising and delegating, beyond disagreements, understanding steel, facilitator training and handling employee complaints. Although I do not have an official mentor, I have a very supportive work group on whom I can depend for information and guidance.
After being with ArcelorMittal for only a short time, I was given the task of auditing our performance management process. I carried out the project in two parts. First, we surveyed employees in the US for their experience with the process. Based on survey results, we found some areas of concern so we had to find ways to improve and implement these changes, which we did in the second part of the project.
ArcelorMittal is a young company, and our culture is still evolving. And as such a big company, each plant and department has a distinct culture that contributes to the overall culture of the company. Within ArcelorMittal, there is a wide range of ages that help to create a unique dynamic.
I truly enjoy my work here and the people I work with. There are many opportunities for self-development through courses at ArcelorMittal University and a local option for tuition reimbursement. As ArcelorMittal is the world’s largest steel company, there are numerous career opportunities and I would not say we have typical career paths. I’d also say the learning curve for associates, who are new employees hired from college, is much shorter today than in the past. In other words, I am given more responsibility earlier in my career and I am expected to know more in less time. Due to the size of our company, I have had the opportunity to work with colleagues from across the world. I was always hesitant to work for a large, global company, as I feared I would become “just another employee” without any strong work relationships. However, working at ArcelorMittal has proved to be just the opposite and I am proud to say I am an ArcelorMittal employee.
Johannes Morutoe Mpotu
Sales manager, commodity products – long steel
I coordinate the sales team. Our work involves development and roll-out of market and product strategy and managing customer relationships.
I have gained product and process knowledge, and developed competencies in trading, customer relationships, and strategy development and roll-out.
It is challenging to achieve, and even exceed, sales targets, budgets and forecasts. It also requires consistent effort to maintain a high level of customer service.
I have learned from on-the-job training and mentoring. We also have a performance management and reward system that promotes learning. I have also had the opportunity to pursue in-house training at ArcelorMittal University and external training courses.
ArcelorMittal is driven by performance and results. People are allowed to be creative and innovative, and excellence is rewarded. We also have the opportunity to contribute to projects across the business.
Product development is always interesting. For example, for one customer we had to improve a normal steel to allow for process improvement efficiencies. Another exciting project involved supporting customers to compete with finished products being imported into the country. We had to develop a competitive strategy not only in terms of prices, but by looking at the total cost of supply. Other projects that push us to be innovative involve business re-engineering or internal rationalisation processes.
ArcelorMittal is a global company that can offer diverse opportunities. You can gain both global exposure and experience with a local focus. For example, to develop products for new customers, our steel mills are able to benchmark products and processes around the world by working together with our research and development unit. This way, we do not have to reinvent the wheel if such processes or products have already been made elsewhere within the company.
Maintenance manager, cold rolling mill
I’m working currently as maintenance manager in the cold rolling mill of the Ghent site of Flat Carbon Europe. My job is to organise, together with my team, the maintenance of our industrial equipment, so that all equipment works in a safe and cost-friendly way.
I work in a heavy industry environment. In Belgium, there are not many companies like that. Also, the global character of the company gives a lot of opportunities.
In my current job, the theories I studied at university come to life. Every day I learn new things. And one thing is for sure: at first sight, practice and theory don’t always seem to work well together.
To coach and motivate my team in the current environment that is rapidly changing. To maintain the high level of performance that we’ve already achieved and to go beyond this.
I had the opportunity to take a two-year course in industrial management at Ghent University. I have also been trained at ArcelorMittal University, which also offers many online courses. For day-to-day support, I can rely on some mentors with many years of experience.
There is a high level of employee involvement. There is an open atmosphere where anyone can introduce ideas to optimise existing processes. Respect when dealing with others is key.
ArcelorMittal’s global presence and the breadth of the business offer an environment to graduates where they can do things hands-on and learn. Given the size of the company, there’s always a new challenge, irrespective of where or what part of the business you work in.