1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My job is an apprentice food scientist working in the ice cream research and development site. I formulate new ice creams, make them in the pilot plant on-site and then run experiments on the ice creams to determine all sorts of characteristics. I also do the same for the chocolate which is used to enrobe ice creams. I have responsibility for my own tasks and I am also curator of a few machines in the labs. I am involved in various projects as my role is quite diverse.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have obtained a 1st in all of my university degree modules so far and I am on track to finish with a BSc in Food Science and Technology. I have also learnt how to operate, run, maintain and extract data of multiple machines including ice cream making freezers, GC-MS machines and rheometers. I also attend various staff training courses within Unilever as they are useful in developing business skills and most of them award you with certificates once completed!
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy working at Unilever as there is such a wonderful group of people working there who are always around to help you if you are stuck, even if it seems like the most stupid thing to get stuck on! Being surrounded by world-class scientists I feel able to ask lots of questions to gain a world of knowledge. The company has your best interest in heart and does as much as possible to make the working day the best day possible. I never dread going to work! Unilever has blown me away with how enjoyable it is to work there.
4. How valued do you feel by Unilever?
I feel very valued as they are investing time and money into my educational development as well as my transition from school kid to apprentice to manager. They have lots of recognition awards throughout the year and also display boards for achievements. I feel like I am a valued part of the team as everyone welcomes me into their project work and will offer to help with mine.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The apprentice scheme is well organised, however, the amount of flexibility in changing roles and deciding where in the business I'd like to go to next isn't as organised as I would have hoped. The training is very well supported as I am allowed to have time to do my university work when I am at work. Studying is easy at Unilever as there are so many people willing to help you. The teams are organised really well and everyone knows who is the person to go to when you need specific areas of knowledge.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I receive lots of help whenever I ask from the lectures. Guidance is thrown at you in the first year and people love to help, in the second year they clam down with support but it can always been increased if needed. I have had issues with being enrolled but it was easily sorted with help from my tutor as they are there to assist you. However, as I only go to university once a week I do not get a high amount of face to face help.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My line manager is very supportive of my university studies as he allows me to have time at work to do my university work with help from my science mentors and classmates. My mentor is very supportive as they allow me to utilise there time whenever I need it, and as they are world-class scientists they are very educated and so help me learn in the methods I like best.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I find my salary is plenty for my living costs, travel costs, daily costs and social costs. The salary difference between the years in the apprentice scheme is also very generous and makes you really feel like you are moving up the company as you complete each year.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are plenty of volunteer events available as well as social events which vary from going to the pub to helping out refurbishing community centres. There is also a sports club at Unilever as well as an on-site gym and a off-site bar.
9a. Would you recommend Unilever to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
It has been the best job I have had so far as the work load is pushing but not too far-fetched, the other employees are wonderful and helpful, the facilities on site are exceptional and the business is doing increasing good in the world.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Unilever? *
Be yourself as Unilever wants individuals who are passionate and naturally enthusiastic about the job on offer. Smile and always thank people for their time as it is usually volunteered.
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