1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
CMCO HR Apprentice: Involves helping with the administrative duties of the global HR team for Unilever head office. Tasks include looking after both senior and junior members of HR within the company; attending and creating various meetings; juggling the full time job with apprenticeship learning - courseworks, learning videos, joining webinars.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Learning excel; have attended purpose workshops; developing other Microsoft outlook skills; learning new business systems and how to navigate them. Attended various workshops on projects which increase numerous amount of skills, including minute taking, communication, etc.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Team is very friendly and welcoming. Always prepared to help with any queries or difficulties I may have. Company is very good at phasing in new starters and helping progression by offering workshops, etc. Culture and environment is very friendly and helpful.
4. How valued do you feel by Unilever?
Feel very valued as an apprentice within the company - line manager and rest of team are very appreciative of having me amongst them. Work distribution is good - to increase, as expected.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Webinars are very structured - set dates, times and topics sent out beforehand. Coursework is plentiful. However during webinars / when e-mailing queries, (we) are often ignored or lengthy delay before response is given, if at all relevant. Most recent coursework was not easy for (myself) with little to no prior business experience. Topics were not covered until AFTER the coursework was submitted. So, not helpful.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Less than expected support received for the type of programme this is. Repeatedly told that the providers are there for support and nothing else, yet when sought out, minimal support is received. Structure of apprenticeship was changed for our intake, and so requesting help from previous apprentices is futile as they are not aware of some of the formats.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Line manager and team are very helpful in providing support with work related queries/ issues/ difficulties. Have not asked them for support for apprenticeship coursework; however have sought help from mentor, who is a previous intake apprentice. Though systems are different, she is helpful where I need the support.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I am lucky as I live with my parents and therefore only have minimal overhead costs: phone bill; travel costs; food costs; social costs; etc. However theyare divorcing and selling the family house. Once this sells I will need my own property - either to rent or buy. This will be impossible to do with my current salary. Especially as I am also paying back student finance and a large overdraft, this salary is not the best.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Somewhat. Various events such as Q & A with the CEO; sustainability related meetings/ talks/ etc, held within the office auditoriums. There is a Pride event I am interested in, organised by someone in my department. extra curricular activity that I am involved in is a yoga class, offered by an external tutor within the office gym location. Little else offered by the company, to my knowledge.
9. Would you recommend Unilever to a friend?
The opportunity to get paid whilst learning is amazing. If received onto a scheme as I have been, it can open many doors after the apprenticeship ends - even if I do not stay within the host company.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Unilever?
Apply is serious, but also apply if skeptical. The opportunities are immense. Don't be afraid of the application and interview process - being yourself is more important than struggling to impress people. The host company is almost entirely likely to have taken apprentices in prior to *your* intake, therefore they know what they are doing and there is little to be worried about. The opportunity to get paid whilst learning is amazing. If received onto a scheme, as I have been, it can open many doors after the apprenticeship ends - even if *you* do not stay within the host company. Would have liked to have been told that the structure of the apprenticeship is very different to schol/ college/ university. The format is different to what I am used to and therefore I struggle to navigate it easily.
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