1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role involves the research and development of ice cream products. Currently, this involves analysis of product structures, both macrostructures and microstructures. I formulate new ice creams, then make them on site and then use these products to determine all sorts of characteristics. On a day-to-day basis, I spend quite a lot of time practically undergoing experiments and have been given the responsibility of my own projects. I am involved in several different teams and projects as my role is quite diverse.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
The environment I am based in means that I am constantly learning, whether it be how to use new machinery, presentation skills or personal life skills. Unilever allows all of its employees to undergo both internal and external training courses, which help enhance both you as a person and your CV.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy working at Unilever as the people I work with are always helpful and understand if you just require a little extra help/explanation. I really enjoy my programme, the opportunity to learn from leading global specialists in their field, as well as study for a degree is fantastic. Throughout my apprenticeship I am given the opportunity to join different teams in different departments and learn several different aspects of the business. My teams are all helpful and willing to answer any questions you may have.
4. How valued do you feel by Unilever?
I feel very valued by Unilever, as they invest so much time into their apprentices, and are willing to fund our degrees as well as grow us as people into our future aspirations. The atmosphere at Unilever is really supportive, people are willing to help you, as long as you are proactive and willing to learn. Unilever has lots of internal and external recognition, which allows its employees to feel valued and supported.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The apprentice programme is very structured, and includes lots of training and support from line managers, mentors and buddies. I study one day a week for my degree at university. I feel as though the day to day work and project allocation could be more organised, as especially because I am in several different teams, project allocation changes alot.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
My university lecturers are mostly very supportive and attentive to emails. All content is available online which allows access to everything. Although, revision sessions are scheduled on separate days, so cannot be utilised and deadlines are sometime inconvenient for part-time students.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I have a supportive line manager, who helps with any questions work-related. Each apprentice is also assigned a mentor, who gives guidance with any problems. Each mentor also offers help in your degree subject area, and helps build your network of contacts. Everyone is really happy to help support you, and explain concepts. Just remember work is for work, and university work should be kept separate.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I find my salary is appropriate for my living costs and travel costs. As I live independently of my parents it is harder to manage money and save, but the salary is competitive and appropriate to your job.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are lots of sports clubs and activities available onsite, as well as an onsite gym and an offsite bar. You can go on long country walks/runs at lunchtime - which are wonderful! Unilever also has a strong volunteering policy, which encourages its employees to volunteer through work, as well as themselves personally.
9a. Would you recommend Unilever to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Unilever provides lots of opportunities in life, and is a competitive company to work for. All the other employees are wonderful and appreciative of the jobs that we do. The site is a beautiful place to work, with exceptional facilities and plenty of opportunities.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Unilever? *
Embrace the opportunities that present themselves to you. With regards to interviews, just be yourself as Unilever want individuals who are willing to learn and enthusiastic. Read up on Unilever and its positive impacts on the world, and research the brands it owns. Being an apprentice is a positive experience and something I can truly say I am proud of.
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