Anglo American

Francois Harvey

Q

A

Why did you want to work for Anglo American?

I always envisioned myself working for a company with a rich history, a company with integrity, a company which cares for its employees and a company which strives to grow South Africa. Anglo American not only met these expectations of my ideal company but exceeded them; Anglo American is unwavering when it comes to the company’s values. The values of Care & Respect and Integrity resonate with me. On the other hand, a company which is able to celebrate 100 years of business in this day and age must be doing something right. Anglo American was instrumental in building South Africa’s economy. From the first funds raised by Ernest Oppenheimer in 1917 to where it is a multi-billion dollar company today. However, Anglo American is not only limited to South Africa, it is a multinational company with operations in Brazil, Chile, Canada and corporate offices in London. Thus, Anglo American offered what I was looking for in a company and much more.

 
 

What attracted you as a graduate?

Anglo American is an unbelievably diverse organisation with specialists in each area of the business. The prospect of me, a financial person to get involved and get an in-depth understanding of such a great company was intriguing to me. The programme also creates a platform for BLASTers to interact with the most senior people in the organisation and learn from them. BLAST not only presented me with the opportunity to use my skills to add to the financial management of an internationally listed company but also to contribute to a company which plays an integral role in the economies it operates in. The prospect of gaining on-site exposure at the biggest open pit platinum mine in the world and to get to understand how an underground operation works from a financial point of view attracted me to the programme. BLAST allowed me to not only get an understanding of the value drivers of the company but also the value drivers of South Africa’s economy. Furthermore, the opportunity to work in London for a company as prestigious as Anglo American and further shape myself and add value to the business was instrumental in my decision.

 
 

What programmes did you take part in?

Anglo American is intentional about caring for its people and equipping them for inside as well as outside the organisation. I have taken part in a course at the University of Johannesburg titled Mining for Non-miners which, amongst others, included economic geology, ore reserves and pay limits, underground mining as well as mining projects. Outside the office I have been on a first aid training course organised by Anglo American to equip myself as an individual. I will be attending TAP (The Achievers Programme) starting in May 2017 which shows the company’s commitment to investing in, and developing its people.

 
 

What advice would you give to graduates who want to embark on a career at Anglo American?

Just be yourself and prepare for an amazing adventure, you will see incredible things and work on projects very few people get to work on. Know what you stand for and do not compromise on it, and see yourself as a leader in the company in the near future. Furthermore, be prepared for a steep learning curve and be able to learn a lot of new work very fast. You will be entrusted with real tasks and real responsibilities and will be expected to work very hard in order to earn the positions you will be held accountable for.

 
 

What differentiates the BLAST programme to other graduate development programmes in the market?

BLAST has a very special reputation not only within the organisation but also within the industry and the country. The programme creates a platform for you to take full advantage of what Anglo American has to offer. You are able to interact with top management in the company on a daily basis. From day one you are given real tasks and responsibilities and you are counted on by your team. BLAST also gives you the opportunity to get cross-discipline exposure. I personally interact with cost engineers, metallurgists, mining engineers and mechanical engineers on a regular basis which has empowered me as a BLASTer to get a better understanding of mining and to build up my networks across the organisation. BLAST is one of the few development programmes in the country which gives you international exposure while still being on the programme. Furthermore, BLAST is also one of the few development programmes in South Africa that has been running for more than a decade. This means you have the opportunity to form part of the proud legacy of prestigious achievers who have gone before you and who are now leaders in the company.

 
 

Which opportunity has benefited you the most, from a career perspective as an Anglo BLASTer?

I believe this is not limited to only me but each BLASTer can testify to this; I have realised regardless of what role I am in, BLAST gives me the platform to build not only a valuable and lasting reputation but also strong and resilient networks. As Anglo American is about people and empowering them, I have had great exposure to real responsibilities as well as interacting with senior people in the organisation and building lasting relationships. BLAST presents me with daily opportunities to build a good reputation and an extensive network of people in Anglo American.

 
 

What challenges have you had to overcome in your role as an Anglo BLASTER and how did you overcome them?

I believe my knowledge about the mining industry was very limited. I took the initiative and asked the relevant people in the organisation if it was possible for me to attend a course to fulfil my need, and they made it happen. I attended a fully sponsored mining course at the University of Johannesburg, which has empowered me to participate more knowledgably and regularly in mining, processing and engineering meetings.

 
 

Have your personal and professional goals been met on this programme? And if so, how?

I would say that my personal and professional goals have been exceeded. BLAST to me is like a launching pad for future leaders in the company. Shaping talent and providing a space where not only skills can be acquired but also where value can be added, BLAST has given me all this and more. Just to mention one example, I have been involved in the financial and performance management of one of the areas in Anglo American Platinum which has received much, if not the most, attention over the past year. I got the opportunity to learn not only about the industry but also refine my financial and performance management skills to be able to deliver a high quality product when needed. I also had to provide and confirm numbers which were communicated to shareholders and the market and interacted regularly with the CFO of Anglo American Platinum and some of the top management in the company on some current matters.