1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Global Consumer Market Insight (Persil)
My role is looking at what consumers like from a marketing perspective, which as a result, will help our marketing team to market the products. I have only been within the scheme for two months and already am involved in numerous projects. 1. Consumer Tracking: our SVP for Persil, is keen for all the Persil team globally to interact with our consumers. Unilever have therefore partnered with an external agency to help track the number of hours we spend talking to our consumers. At the end of the month I am sent a business document of the results. I collate these results and put them into a PowerPoint that I will present at our Monthly Persil Global Meeting.
- Preview Advert: Because I am involved with marketing, we help to create adverts for our brand. Unilever have worked together with two external companies to create a global database, containing all of the adverts that have been previewed and scored! This is a great way to document all of the adverts in one place! I have weekly meetings with the two external companies, to make sure the database is progressing the way it should be. With this, I have also had to promote the database (come up with ways to internally market the database) and been given targets to reach for the number of users per month to use it.
- Values: My director wants me to research if the family values globally have changed since the last time this research was done (2009) - I am working with internal colleagues to get to this conclusion, but I am the one leading this project.
- Brazil Scarcity - Recently been moved to another project, where I am helping to come up with solutions to the water scarcity in Brazil. This has involved me travelling to Liverpool to have meetings with the technical teams.
- Sustainability Project - My director is wanting me to organise an event for the whole of the building to help promote sustainability.
- Neuroscience - Had to organise and event for an American neuroscientist to speak to the whole of homecare marketing.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
In the near future my manager is organising me to attend both internal and external training courses to help expand my skills (how to present effectively etc...)
I have however developed existing skills, simply through observing and working through a company. Before I joined Unilever, I worked in a local hairdressers - I was constantly interacting with customers and developed communication skills/ team work skills. These skills have only been developed further as my team is incredibly small and therefore our communication is key and also I am working with external companies.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I could not be happier! - I am enjoying all of the work I am being set, I constantly show enthusiasm to my manager and learn best when I am pushed. She is aware of this, and pushes me when she feels it will benefit me! (she knows my limits though). - I have a passion for sociology, I in fact studied this at the University of Southampton for one term, but found University wasnt the right path for me. The brand I work with is so highly linked to what I was learning at Southampton! - My team are all amazing to me, they are happy to answer any of my questions (even if they are silly). I ask them for extra work if I have completed all of my set work, and they are always happy to try and give me some. - The company culture matches my personality - everyone is friendly and willing to help me. I haven't once felt out of my comfort zone. It also feels very relaxed as Unilever really promote agile working and therefore you are not restricted to working dead on 9-5! As long as you complete your work everyone is happy, so sometimes you will have to work longer hours, but other times you may have slightly shorter days! You are also entitled to work from home once a week in the London (100VE) office, due to a lack of space.
4. How valued do you feel by Unilever?
I feel incredibly valued. - My manager is constantly giving me positive feedback for my work. I am a worrier as I always want to achieve my best and do sometimes lack confidence with the work I produce. But my manager is giving me so much support and feedback that I am feeling much more reluctant to constantly ask for feedback of to ask if I am "on the right lines" - My director also values me: it is very rare to present in the Global Persil meetings. However within just two months I have had to develop and deliver a presentation within this meeting!
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Good - not excellent : (let me explain why) - Induction: Excellent, this was really well run. I felt even more excited to start after this induction. - Training: Excellent - Support: The amount of support you get in excellent. I don't just get this from my line manager or my team, but we have weekly emails from Apprenticeship Employment Agency, asking us to give an update on how we are getting on/if we have any problem. We also get a biweekly visit face to face. You also get support from PDC. - Studying: Average (but has got better), We had only had half a day induction which I felt was very rushed and confusing. We weren't given a laptop at this stage so it was hard to follow what was being said and actually put what was being said into practice. The studying page is incredibly confusing and takes a long time to get your head around (I had to ask other apprentices that had been there for longer to help). My manager was unable to attend the manager training day for the studying and was also incredibly confused about the studying side. We are still yet to have a face to face meeting with our assessor, however this is scheduled for mid July. We have had one telephone meeting with our assessor which was incredibly helpful and from this point onwards I have had no problem with the studying. I have currently completed 25% of the work (meant to be 10%).
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
-Have already stated about my tutor/adviser: she now gives me incredibly good feedback and I can always ask her questions.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
-I receive so much support from my manager (already highlighted why). If I have any problems, the first person I would go to is my manager as I have a really good relationship with her and don't feel embarrassed of a hindrance to do so. -I haven't come into contact with HR team yet, but I know that they are there if I need to contact them. -I do not have a mentor; I feel this would have been good at the beginning of the scheme to help me settle in and to answer any apprenticeship related questions. However I have had support from some graduates (within the Persil team) who have offered to help me and answer any "silly questions" that I may have.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I am still living at home and therefore the salary I get is perfect for me.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Yes: - I am signing up to be an ambassador for Dove. - We have gone for various team dinners/drinks - We have a gym on sight which I go to regularly (free of charge) - I havent heard of any Voluntary Local community events, but want to get involved in this so will be asking my manager if their are any opportunities.
9a. Would you recommend Unilever to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
I went to the University of Southampton and would never put University down. However I feel that working for a company as big as Unilever gives you the most amazing opportunities for your future. Sometimes by learning through doing is a more effective way to be taught (as this was the case for me). I feel that once you have got experience behind you, companies will not look at your grades but instead look at your experiences and achievements within a company.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Unilever? *
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