Stories of IAG Cargo’s Graduate Programme 

In the run up to our 2022 graduate programme restarting this October, we spoke with a couple of IAG Cargo’s grad scheme alumni. What better way to get a feel for the programme than from those who’ve participated – and landed pretty cool careers at IAG Cargo as a result.

The deadline to apply to our 2022 graduate scheme intake is on 15 August at 5pm BST. Apply here:  

Rob Stack, Head of Business Change, IAG Cargo

When did you participate in the graduate scheme?

September 2014 to September 2016

Why did you choose to apply?

I was always very interested in the behind-the-scenes world of logistics, which is fascinating. Also, the international nature of IAG Cargo stood out for me. 

How many people were in your intake? 


Did you stay in touch with anyone? 

Yes, I even went to one’s wedding! 

What departments did you work in, and how long did you spend at each rotation? 

I did two rotations. One was in the contact centre at Heathrow, and the other was working on the new cargo terminal in Madrid. 

What were the programme highlights?

I moved to Madrid! I studied Spanish in university and enjoyed life out here – the food, the outdoorsy culture. I’ve also got into salsa dancing (even if badly!). Madrid is a smaller hub than Heathrow, but is our gateway to Latin America.

Did you participate in any events during the programme? 

Yes- particularly during my first two induction weeks. We spent a week with British Airways, for example, where we visited places like the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre and Gate Gourmet facilities to see the airline caterers. We also did a cabin crew training day and went down the evacuation slide, which was great fun.  

What was your first job after the programme?

I got a permanent role as an infrastructure project manager at IAG Cargo. I led the project to build our Constant Climate facilities in Madrid. Thankfully, this was completed a year before the pandemic hit and since then millions of Covid-19 vaccines have passed through the hub, mainly on their way to Latin America.

What are you doing now? 

I’m the Head of Business Change in Madrid at IAG Cargo, so the business owner for infrastructure, IT, and innovation projects. I make sure that any changes are in-line with the Madrid’s operational requirements.

Favourite thing about your job? 

I work with colleagues from across the IAG group- procurement, property, IT, operations, finance (to name a few). After seven years in Spain, I connect with people from both of our hubs – even if I am still ignored by Spanish friends and colleagues when I start talking about cricket!

What is the best job perk at IAG Cargo? 

I bet everyone says this… but its got to be the low cost flight benefits!

James Bland, Business Manager for Small and Medium Business, IAG Cargo

When did you participate in the graduate scheme?

September 2019 to September 2021. 

Why did you choose to apply?

When I was at university, I found IAG Cargo on The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers. I really liked the idea of doing different placements in different areas of the commercial business, especially such a large one, to get real insights into how everything works together.

How many people were in your intake? 


Did you stay in touch with anyone? 

Yeah, I just went for lunch with one of them!

What departments did you get to work in, and how long did you spend at each rotation? 

The original programme structure was two years with three eight-month placements, but due to Covid, the timelines were a little different. 

I started in innovation for eight months, and then was given the opportunity to work in business management two days a week and in network three days a week. I did that for three months, and then I joined our Constant Climate team to support with the Covid-19 vaccine rollout. After that I joined the business management team full-time in global key accounts, before getting a permanent role at IAG Cargo. 

What was your favourite department? 

Innovation was fun. I studied history at university, so it gave me a chance to do something that I’d never be able to do if I wasn’t on the grad scheme. I went from studying about the past to looking into the future with all these new technologies. Business management was also great, because it gave me an abundance of commercial knowledge.

What made the innovation department so much fun?

In innovation, my role was to project manage the trialling of new technology within IAG Cargo. During my time we worked with virtual reality (VR) to demonstrate to colleagues and customers the journey of a piece of freight, from arriving at the warehouse, to making its way onto the cargo hold of a plane. We now use VR headsets to give colleagues a tour of our warehouse facilities, an innovative solution which goes without interrupting our operation teams during their work.

Another project I worked on was drone testing, to enhance our inventory checking processes. I got to fly the drones which was really fun.

The project I found really interesting in innovation was partnering with AllRead, a machine learning company, and using machine learning alphanumeric data capturing technology to manage our ULD fleet. We had 10 weeks to take the AllRead’s concept and test it in our operation before presenting the results at the Hanger 51 demo day in the Gaudi building in Barcelona.

Did you have the opportunity to travel on the grad scheme?

I visited our hub in Madrid several times as part of my work with the innovation team. I also visited Barcelona for a demo day called Hangar 51, where start-up companies across various industries present technologies they’ve been working on to a media audience and the IAG group. I also attended the WeCargo conference in Brussels.

Do you have any advice for those looking to get into the programme?

Go for every opportunity, and don’t be afraid to take on a role outside of your comfort zone, as this is the best way to gain a wider perspective of the business and get to know more colleagues. Once you’re in a company, especially a big one like IAG Cargo, it’s a lot easier to switch around different functions of the business- there’s a role for everyone.

Apply to IAG Cargo’s Grad Scheme here