Part II, Stories of IAG Cargo’s Graduate Programme

What departments do our grads work in, what events do they attend, and what are they doing now? We’ve talked to two of our alumni to find out. The deadline to apply is on 15 August at 5pm BST, but we have a feeling that after reading, you may just apply a little before…

Apply here:

Sophie Loch, Advanced Analytics and Reporting Analyst, IAG Cargo

When did you participate in the graduate scheme?

September 2017 to May 2019. 

Why did you choose to apply?

I’ve always been interested in aviation, and I found the idea of working in cargo more interesting. The variety of cargo and the fact most people don’t know much about the industry felt exciting. 

How many people were in your intake? 


Did you stay in touch with anyone? 

Yes, a few people. It’s probably the same with other intakes, where you go through the process together, support one another, and become quite a tight group. I stay in touch and catch up with those I’m not working with anymore. 

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

I did six-month rotations. I started in the project management office, and then I moved into commercial, where I spent part of my week doing direct sales, and the other part supporting our Global Key Accounts sales team. After that, I went into operations in the hub control centre, which has oversight of the whole operation- and then I got a permanent role at IAG Cargo.

Did you travel?

Yes, mainly in the commercial placement to support the sales team. I travelled to Europe to visit customers and also to our hub in Madrid. I also went to Atlanta and other parts of the US. The team I worked with had a global remit, so it was a fun opportunity. 

What were the programme highlights?

Great variety. I experienced various parts of the business in depth. You start getting more familiar with the business as you progress through the programme. In project management, you see the transformation projects IAG Cargo is working on. In commercial, you start to better understand our customers. Then the operations function helped me understand how we fulfil the promise we’ve made to our customers in transporting their cargo.

You build a network across the business because you’re spending time in lots of different teams and meeting people. It was really helpful, because when I came into the programme, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do longer term, so it gave me that opportunity to try lots of roles.

Did you participate in any events during the programme? 

 I went to customer events in London and Spain, which were really good fun.

What was your first job after the programme?

I got a job as Business Manager for the Global Key Accounts team. 

What are you doing now? 

Last year, I moved into the Data team and work as an Advanced Analytics and Reporting Analyst. It’s very different from what I was doing before. Although I didn’t have an abundance of technical knowledge; I knew a lot about the business from the grad scheme. I was told it was that knowledge they wanted in the team and I was given training to support me in the role. I don’t think I would have been given the chance if it weren’t for the programme. 

Favourite thing about your job? 

It’s a really good team. Working in data is very collaborative, so we’re always asking each other for advice, such as if I’m writing a piece of code, and I need support for the next step.

Job perks? 

The obvious one is the travel benefits. I enjoyed working with the different teams too. The business feels intimate, and you can get to know most people, especially in our Heathrow office. At the same time, you’re a part of this big global group that has a huge number of aircraft flying all over the world carrying cargo, so you get the best of both worlds. 

What’s it like working as a woman in the logistics industry?

I’ve always felt welcome. Through my cargo journey, I’ve had the experience of working with some great female leaders, particularly my managers and mentors. 

Matthew Goff, Department Manager – Hub & Planning, IAG Cargo

When did you participate in the graduate scheme?

2012 to 2016, so slightly longer than three years. It was a little extended. 

Why did you choose to apply?

My parents are former British Airways employees; my stepfather was a 747 captain for 35 years. After I graduated from university, we were talking about jobs, and my stepfather mentioned how he’d joined the grad scheme and how strong it had been. After this discussion, I happened to see there was a cargo grad scheme. I did a degree in earth sciences and had a job for Southern Water before. I thought that cargo would build upon a lot of the skills I generated, just in a slightly different field. 

How many people were in your intake? 


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

I went straight into frontline operations and then took a more varied role supporting operations. From there, I went into infrastructure project management. I was involved in the early-stage analysis and groundwork business casing for what has transpired to become our future New Premia building. I then moved into our commercial directorate, specifically into the product team, and I fulfilled the role as the Prioritise and Courier Product Manager. It was a nice collection of roles for me. The rotations were between six months to one year. 

Favourite department? 

I can honestly say that I got different things out of each one, and I was very fond of all the placements. Each time I got to a nice exit position, where I completed my deliverables and could move on. I must have really liked the product team, because I got a job there after my last placement. I liked being involved in everything across the business, and being in product was a nice way to do that, because I act as a focal point for a product for all aspects of the business. 

Did you get to travel?

Loads! I went to a variety of regional team meetings in Thailand and Malaysia, I went on customer visits to Canada, and on trips to Germany. We also had regular trips to our Madrid hub to meet the other half the product team. 

What were some other highlights? 

I was really fortunate. When I was in the second operational placement, the Department for Transport changed some of the cargo regulations around the documentation process. It was probably the biggest documentation change the cargo industry had seen for quite some time, and it just happened to fall into my lap. I ended up being in a position where I led the business rollout of this new regulation. The Deputy Inspector came to observe how we were going to do this, and I gave the demonstration. It was really well received, so that was a big highlight for me. 

Did you participate in any events during the programme? 

Particularly for the product role, I went to Air Cargo Europe. I also attended the SLF summit in Amsterdam. There was a collection of people from across the logistics industry doing interesting things.

How do you think the programme differs from other grad schemes?

You’re put into people management roles early on, so you get to build people management expertise quickly. My friends that participated in other graduate schemes didn’t get to perform those functions, and they were supernumeraries. IAG Cargo is a business within a business – so there’s that ability to create a diverse skillset, which otherwise you may not get.

What was your first job after the programme?

The graduate scheme gave me enough skillset to take on the role of Global Product Development Manager.

What are you doing now?

I’m the Department Manager of Hub and Planning. I have approximately 150 staff from different teams that report to me. I have one team that’s responsible for planning the flights out of London from a cargo perspective. I have another team that’s responsible for data entry and documentation management. Then I have a couple of smaller teams that are involved with transport activities and specialist vendors. I also lead a team of senior cargo duty managers. It’s quite diverse. 

Favourite thing about your job? 

I like being involved in as much of the business as possible. It’s an extension of some of those roles I’ve had before. I’m very curious about everything that’s going on. Having a role that enables me to continue to learn, develop, solve interesting problems, and be a part of exciting changes keeps me going. 

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

I’ve interviewed grads before. I’ve always looked for people who share my curiosity, so try to get that across during the interview. We’re not necessarily looking for graduates with cargo experience. We’re looking for graduates who are curious, can learn quickly, and can understand a diverse set of information. 

Apply to IAG Cargo’s Grad Scheme here