1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am currently studying as a multi-skilled engineering apprentice. I am situated in one of the factories on site where we produce comfort and vaporesse ironing water. My role involves working as a part of a team to ensure that the production of our products is consistent and of the highest quality. I train in the making plant, on the packing lines and also on the palletisers in the warehouse. Day to day jobs can involve PM's (Planned Maintenance) or break down work. I enjoy break down work more as it is work that you are not use to doing and therefore learn more.
My most recent project was in the making plant. I installed a DEPA sump pump and automatic float switch on the ground floor drains.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I entered the role at 16 and had no previous experience in engineering apart from bits of work that I had carried out on my push bike. I am now in my third year of the apprenticeship and have achieved the following:
PEO level 2 BTEC level 2 BTEC level 3
I am currently working towards my:
NVQ level 3 HNC level 4 & 5.
in addition to this I have been on teambuilding outward bound courses where I improved my team working skills and planning techniques. I have also attended a Markem Imaje ink coder course, Manual Handling course, Rigging and Lifting course and I am scheduled to go on a Festo Pneumatics course and Siemens PLC course.
Finally I feel not only my engineering skills have improved but my day to day skills such as communication and the ability to work in a team has improved.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Unilever is a great place to work filled with friendly employees who are all willing to offer you help and support on your journey as an apprentice.
Being a Unilever apprentice you are constantly presented with great opportunities and always supported so that you can reach your potential and achieve the best from your apprenticeship.
4. How valued do you feel by Unilever?
As an apprentice at Unilever I feel very valued by all of my colleagues. Even I do not have the same experience as them they all respect my opinions and listen to my suggestions as a team member.
furthermore as a Apprentice Ambassador I feel that my company and fellow apprentices have also supported me.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The program is very well organised and there is a large spec of different opportunities on offer to you. No ones apprenticeship is the same.
In my role the first year of the apprenticeship is full time at West Cheshire College, this is where you learn the basics that you will need in factory life. The following three years are day release at the college where you improve on your skills and knowledge and for the remaining day you learn your role in the factory.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I feel that we receive more support from Unilever than we do the college. Each year I have attended college and at the start there is always confusion with timetables and room bookings. Individually the lecturers are good yet some are definitely better than others.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
As an apprentice your are allocated a mentor when you go onsite. This is somebody to look after you and help you learn your role. As you gain confidence you begin to work with a larger range of people. Your Line manager is always there to support you and as well as this you have apprentice managers and mentors to speak to.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I feel we are paid well here at Unilever as an apprentice. The majority of us are still living at home. Therefore the salary leaves you enough to pay keep, car insurance and any possible interests that you may have at the weekend.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
I am a keen rugby player and play for the local rugby club Anselmians. Unfortunately Unilever do not have a rugby side however there are various five aside games organised by employees played each week, which I have featured in.
Due to health and safety reasons the factory does not often have open days for the public to come in and see what we do. However on special occasions such as new openings and special dates (anniversary's) the factory does open its gates.
In addition to my role I am one of the Outreach Ambassadors. This involves going to local schools to discus apprenticeships with pupils. I also featured as one of the 9 team members in this years Brathay challenge, the aim of the challenge is to raise the profile of apprenticeships in your local area. Unfortunately we where not successful in the challenge and didn't go through, however I feel we have gained allot from our experience and improved as apprentices.
9a. Would you recommend Unilever to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Unilever is a great company to work for, the employees are kind and supporting and will help you achieve your goals in whatever it may be. The company itself will push you and present you with many challenges and opportunities in attempt to helping you become a better worker in your role. Unilever does not only set your up with good foundations in your role but also in your life as a young apprentice.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Unilever? *
I would 100% recommend applying for Unilever. I would encourage that applicants apply early and speak to career advisors in school or at college on how to fill in your application. Our application is a standard one so despite the role manager or apprentice the application is the same therefore it may be long and confusing however stick it out because the potential result is definitely worth it.
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