1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am currently participating in a higher level IT apprenticeship and have thus been placed with the local Leatherhead IT team as an IT Analyst. From day to day my role can really vary, occasionally I will be walking the office helping out users where I can and then on other days my work can be more computer based where I usually find myself approving software applications and sorting out computers for new joiners. While the few things listed above to some may sound rather bland the great thing about Unilever is that there is an opportunity round every corner and it is surprising sometimes what you can find yourself involved in, plus a few of these opportunities usually wind up as free food!
I find Unilever a very casual and relaxed company where everyone you bump into is very easy to chat to and get along with, overall internally its a pleasant atmosphere.
In terms of my responsibilities I find that actually its more down to how you manage yourself rather than how you are being managed, Its defiantly the case that you are responsible for your own progress and growth at Unilever and while that may sometimes seem slightly daunting it works out well the majority of the time.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
While working with Unilever I can tell you that as a person I feel I have grown in confidence and continue to grow. I feel also a enhanced sense of independence and if ever asked to do something I can quite happily get on with it myself no questions asked. Professional skills are a given when working in a vast and socially buzzing company like Unilever, I find interacting with members of the business fairly easy and managing my time effectively is something I'm getting better at.
From a qualification perspective I am currently studying a 3 year foundation degree in IT and Business with the Open University along side a Level 4 IT apprenticeship certificate the benefits from this are endless not just because of the constant learning but also because Unilever pay for the running of the qualifications which is a particularly nice touch.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Almost one year into my programme I can safely tell you that it has been an excellent experience from many different angles. I touched on it earlier but will mention it again the atmosphere is incredibly friendly and it is easy to get on with most that you meet in the business. I think also the variety of what I do from day to day has also helped me enjoy the programme. However that's not say that I haven't had a bad day I'm afraid.
4. How valued do you feel by Unilever?
There is such a community vibe with Unilever that its very easy to get lost in the crowd is what I perceive. I believe that I am valued in the role I perform for the business to the extent that I'm content with it.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
One of the best things about the apprenticeship hands down! I have a few other friends who are also doing a similar apprenticeship at different company's and they give me the impression its a case of sink or swim for them. With Unilever it's a different story, the support and guidance in place to help along the way is staggering and while the qualifications are supported the role I perform smoothly entwines with them.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
As previously mentioned a great deal and when issues do arise there is usually someone to catch you from the fall or spur you on further into the qualification.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Again cannot really fault it, A week long induction period at the beginning was a really nice touch to this and allowed me to comfortably work my way into the business and get my bearings.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
One of the great things I believe about choosing an apprenticeship over University is that instead of drinking and partying your way into student debt like a lot of my friends currently are doing. You can happily trundle along earning money instead! I would say that I am happy with the amount I am payed and am quite easily able to not just pay living costs but also have a fair amount extra to spend on myself.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
From a company perspective I would have to say very little but I think this is due to the nature of my role, many of my fellow apprentices in other roles do more traveling than myself. However the apprentice nights out are fantastic especially in close by Kingston and even better if you are working from the London office.
9a. Would you recommend Unilever to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Unilever is a great company with fantastic opportunities everywhere you look, the company really does have its own individual feel to it that I'm not to sure other company's can rival. In combination with the qualifications on offer and the benefit of being payed while doing it all, Unilever to me seems like an opportunity if offered that would be a silly mistake to turn down.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Unilever? *
The application process is lengthy but I am a firm believer that it is out there to get the best out of people rather than trying to catch them out. The best advice I can offer is to be yourself and be bold. Unilever is full of larger than life characters (in a good way) that as mentioned give it an individual feel.
The online tests can be tricky if not correctly prepared for but they are incredibly well documented and there are many that can be practiced if found online.
The interviews should be seen as a chance to really market yourself and demonstrate whats great about you. These are usually done through answering several questions about key company competencies, my best advise here is to try and pick a few out from the Unilever website then try and think of scenarios where you have successfully demonstrated these competencies.
The first thing I was told in the assessment centre was to be myself and that couldn't have been more true, be friendly with others around you as you may find it beneficial come the team activities.
The presentation should be nothing to worry about and while it says you can chose anything I would advise to choose something you know a lot about that you feel confident in presenting. I did mine on football but more specifically why England failed so tragically in the 2014 World cup. If you can choose an aspect or detail of a certain topic like mine then you can make a presentation very interesting to listen too and it also makes your life a little easier when actually presenting it.
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