Helwan welcomes first Cement Engineer graduates

July 5, 2016 Cristina Holmark

Fourteen students from Helwan University become the first in the world to receive a postgraduate diploma degree in Cement engineering.

The first students have now graduated from the Helwan University in Egypt with a postgraduate diploma degree in cement engineering. Launched in 2014 by Helwan University in partnership with FLSmidth, the 18-month diploma degree provides a combination of classroom teaching and onsite projects supplemented by cement specific courses. Fourteen students from different Egyptian cement companies are now the first in the world to achieve a qualification that equips them with the theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience required for cement plant operation and maintenance.

A deeper talent pool
The graduation marks the end of the second phase of a project to develop a specialist postgraduate cement engineering degree. Cristina Holmark, General Manager of Services/Global FLSmidth Institute, is delighted to see the new graduates from the degree, which illustrates a visionary cooperation between academia and the cement industry. 

“The degree is ensuring a pool of cement talent that will be at the cutting edge of cement production processes. This is of significant benefit to cement companies, as they can reduce onboarding time and get access to the latest thinking in the industry" - Cristina Holmark, General Manager, Services, Global FLSmidth Institute

“Of course, the degree is equally beneficial for the students, who not only achieve an academic degree, but also become even better equipped to contribute to the cement production industry,” she adds.


Whereas the early phase of the project was largely driven by FLSmidth, it is now owned and managed by Helwan University with assistance of FLSmidth. FLSmidth continues with marketing and promoting the degree as well as continuing to provide train-the-trainer programmes.

Innovative partnership
Professor Yasser Sakr, President of Helwan University, says that Helwan University was one of the first universities in Egypt to enter into such a public-private partnership. He explains why the university wanted to join FLSmidth in such an innovative partnership: “The idea was to tackle a chronic problem in the cement industry in Egypt, which is the lack of academic programmes to provide qualified graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary for the industry. The fresh engineering graduate from the Egyptian schools of engineering has little or even no idea about cement production. Hence, the partnership broke out with the first cement engineering diploma aimed at providing students with theoretical knowledge together with the marketable skills necessary to enable them to enter the cement industry.”

“The degree provides an attractive value proposition for the university. Our partnership with FLSmidth has enabled us to prepare a state-of-the-art curriculum and unprecedented facilities resulted in a commercially viable offering to the private sector. New methods of teaching have been introduced for the first time in our postgraduate academic degrees integrating field study together with simulation and lecture-based learning" - Professor Yasser Sakr , President of Helwan University

“In addition, it has highlighted the visibility of Helwan University towards the surrounding cement plants. It is a success story that compels us to take a big leap towards a Master’s degree in Cement Engineering.”

Supporting local development
Cristina Holmark explains that FLSmidth’s efforts in working with Helwan University reflect a commitment to local development in the regions in which FLSmidth has a significant presence:

“We are prepared to contribute with our know-how in order to make a sustainable impact on the communities we work in. This is also part of maintaining long-term relationships with our clients to create sustainable solutions.” - Cristina Holmark

The next diploma degree course at Helwan University is scheduled to start in August 2016. Meanwhile, steps are being taken to investigate the potential of upgrading the diploma degree to a Master’s degree. This would involve increasing the level of blended learning, combining self-study with additional classroom sessions. Similar programmes are being developed in other parts of the world, with postgraduate degrees currently being developed in India and Colombia.

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