1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Throughout my apprenticeship my role changed as part of the scheme working through R&D as hair and laundry design scientist in formulation and processing teams. This involved making batches of home and personal care products, assessing their stability and quality and making improvements to the formulation and process of manufacture. I am responsible for dealing with regional contacts and ensuring the projects I am on run smoothly as a global design centre worker.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I am working on a HNC in applied chemistry (distinction) and a BSc (hons) in chemistry (2.1) in the next few years. Through general experience and also certain training courses, I have developed communication, assertiveness, time management and presenting skills. I have learnt a huge amount about research and development in terms of product science and manufacture. I have also gained a huge amount of confidence in general through successful completion of work on projects, event management and gaining my qualifications.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Really enjoyed working in fantastic teams throughout my apprenticeship so far. Our company culture is all about developing and sustainability and I feel best placed now to carry on improving my career. I really enjoyed the scheme and would do it 10 times over if I had the chance. It surpassed my expectations from the start. There have only been a few minor provblems to this day but there is much room in the future for my idea and outcome to change for better or worse.
4. How valued do you feel by Unilever?
Very valued. Our site leader has made efforts to make sure our apprentices are valued and that the scheme is believed in. We have won regional awards and also attended national awards for apprenticeships and I feel we are leaders in the UK in this respect. As a member of the teams I have worked in, I have always felt like a valued member of the team. I would say that currently my expectations have been reasonable and the company have definitely surpassed these.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Our scheme structure is set out quite well and the support is always there in terms of academic or work based assignments and tasks. Training is implemented where needed and the progression of the scheme is well set out. We are encouraged to ask questions and go to different members of staff if we have specific questions about a job or our apprenticeship leader at Unilever if we have questions or queries related to our job role and apprenticeship. Im very happy with the structure and helpfulness from the company too.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
We are always supported in any way possible. The only thing we needed to do is make sure someone was aware if we were struggling. We have regular meetings to ensure we are coping with the workload and we also get feedback from our training provider as well as our managers and supervisors. We are given constructive feedback to help us perhaps improve our work or change the way we go about doing a job for example. The feedback is given in a really good way suitable for everyone.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Same as question 6a. We are always supported in any way possible. The only thing we needed to do is make sure someone was aware if we were struggling. We have regular meetings to ensure we are coping with the workload and we also get feedback from our training provider as well as our managers and supervisors. We are given constructive feedback to help us perhaps improve our work or change the way we go about doing a job for example. The feedback is given in a really good way suitable for everyone. The tutors and staff at the university are really friendly and helpful.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I travel 15 miles by car to work and getting the train to uni was very easy. The total cost of this was easily met by the salary package. I am however, not left with much money to use for my personal life/enjoyment however this was to be expected when beginning my apprenticeship. I know how to budget my money and i think that with pay rises in the future i can definitely handle my money better and be more relaxed with it. For an apprentice salary overall it isn't too bad.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There is always plenty of extra stuff going on to get involved in like running, choir, pool clubs etc. There is also chance to attend event that visit different sites across the UK and network with employees in similar or different roles across the company for apprentices. I am glad and happy to get these different opportunities because i like meeting lots of different people in the same situation as i am and i like to travel as well so im relieved my job can enable me to do this.
9a. Would you recommend Unilever to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
The company values in terms of sustainability mean that personal development and career progression are always focussed on and I have always felt like Unilever is a fantastic place to build a career. I heard of the company before i applied and had seen feedback online such as this site, which gave me an insight and i knew from then that they were a good and reputable place of employment. They treat you well, the wage is good and you can really push the boundry with them.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Unilever? *
Make sure you research the company and get to know the general business workings through their website or other good sources like wikipedia. Have passion for the type of products we sell and try and show this. Take care to input everything you can on the online application and do not leave any gaps. The online application is very generic so do not be put off. Do not be nervous if you get an interview, try to relax and stay calm - the people at Unilever are very nice!
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