Robert Brown was a 19-year-old introvert with a keen interest in engineering, science, and the Spanish language when he embarked on his first overseas adventure.
In 2008, Brown applied for a scholarship which resulted in his studying for a first degree in chemical engineering at the Universidad Central “Marta Abreu” de Las Villas in Cuba.
Ten years later, his passion for personal development would result in history somewhat repeating itself.
Brown, a member of the production coordination team at Caribbean Cement Company Limited, has recently returned from an intense year-long course at a cement plant in Monterrey, Mexico, at the headquarters of CEMEX, a global building materials company and the parent firm of Carib Cement which operates in Jamaica.
His strong drive, aptitude, fluency in Spanish and competence led to his supervisors recommending him to participate in a development training programme for persons working in cement operations.
The graduate of Calabar High School in St Andrew, quickly adapted to the intense training programme and came away with stronger skills and a different perspective on life.
“While being away from my family was tough I think it’s really important for people, regardless of your age, to have a very open mind. This especially as globalisation can present opportunities to work with people from other countries, as well as work in different countries,” said Brown.
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“Being adaptable, embracing cultural differences and learning another language are enriching experiences and although it wasn’t easy, I am really glad that my supervisors were confident about recommending me this training programme,” added Brown.
Production manager at Carib Cement Christopher Brown and Jorge Camelo, human resources manager, were instrumental in his selection to participate in a programme, which was also attended by persons from CEMEX operations in Colombia and Mexico.
“This programme is for teaching and learning and exchanging ideas. Given his work experience, he was well positioned to learn from and also teach others. He was a very good ambassador of both the expertise here at Carib Cement, as well as of the culture of Jamaica,” said Camelo.
Adaptability is a theme of Robert’s personal and professional journey so far, and has led him from his first work experience with a municipal authority in the area of minor water supplies, to being responsible for ensuring gigantic essential mills at Carib Cement’s Rockfort plant are kept in working order at all times.
“He has a very good attitude, trainable and the right work ethics. I expect that over time his capacity to add greater value will only be increased. Everyone should always try to improve their skills as continuous improvement is cultural value embedded within all aspects of our operations,” said Christopher Brown.
While Robert went to Mexico from 2019 to 2020, two major regional programmes were hosted in Jamaica during that period.
The highly sought after Cement Masters and Maintenance Masters programmes saw candidates from the Caribbean, South America and Central America participating in intensive six-week programmes, held in this region for the first time. These programmes are usually held in either Colombia or Mexico. Similarly, the company expanded its internship programme, the Professionals in Development, by accepting 10 recruits in 2019, up from three.