1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
- Currently working in a brand team, responsible for delivering unseen and unique innovations to the ice cream market. - Developing ice cream formulations in order to meet the consumer expectations (taste, mouthfeel, colour, smell, etc..). This involves setting up and running multiple tests and processing trials. For each processing trial, I am responsible for creating anywhere between 50kg - 500kg of ice cream at a time. - Once I've collected the results from my tests and trials, I present my findings to the ret of my team, sometimes this includes very senior stakeholders.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Working on this degree program has allowed me to SIGNIFICANTLY develop my soft skills. When I enrolled on the program, I was shy, quiet and didn't give myself enough credit for the work I did. But, as I transitioned through the program I have found myself becoming increasingly more confident in my own abilities. This has shown through my willingness to take on any opportunities that come my way, feeling less scared when conversing with senior stakeholders and being able to network confidently with other employees within the business! I've enjoyed seeing myself develop so much that I even decided to take on the role of an ambassador for the company and promote this apprenticeship beyond the local area!
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I have thoroughly enjoyed my program since the day I began. The transition from full-time to study to full-time work + part-time study did seem overwhelming at first. But I soon got to appreciate the benefit of working from such an early age. Being financially secure meant I was able to live the lifestyle of my choice without having to make many compromises. It also meant that I was working on REAL GLOBAL projects in and amongst industry professionals, granting me invaluable experience and motivation to achieve as much as possibly could.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The program has been running fro several years so it is very well structured. Every apprentice will be made aware of where and when they will rotate into their next role. In many cases, the apprentices are given the choice of which part of the business they would like to move into! The degree element of the degree is also very well structured. Majority (if not all managers) are made very clear about the responsibilities apprentices have in completing their university work, and are therefore given ample amount of time and resource in order to complete it. The training provider also for accommodates with state of the art facilities, constant upgrades in the IT department to facilitate remote learning and are always open to constructive feedback.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I have received an ample amount of support from my employer. Not just in terms of my apprenticeship but also including my general health at work. I have regular check-ups to ensure I remain protected against work related injuries. In addition, there are many mental health schemes open to anyone who is struggling and is in difficulty for whatever reason.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
The training provider ensures that I am assigned a tutor who will answer any queries I have regarding my degree program. Module tutors are responsive and helpful even outside of university hours. IT systems are constantly being updated in order to facilitate remote learning so apprentices can have access to resources not just at university.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
My qualification pairs theory, practical and industrial insights all into one. The fact that the majority of my tutors worked within the industry before they began lecturing allows them to provide unique insights and case studies instead of generic examples. The coursework are often centred around existing activities at our sites/workplaces which forces apprentices to develop a deeper understanding of specific functions within their organization.
8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
Majority of sites will have a plethora of extra-curricular activities to join in on. I have found these to be extremely helpful in controlling stress but also developing healthier habits. Taking part in these activities also allows me to socialise and make new friends with staff from other departments whom I'd normally never encounter.
9a. Would you recommend Unilever to a friend?
Working at Unilever has provided me with a unique introduction into the world of work. Although I am studying a food science degree, being surrounded by such a variety of professionals has allowed me to learn from several disciplines including psychology, engineering, statistical and chemical! There is no limit to what you can learn and where you learn it from!
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Unilever?
Understand the competencies that Unilever are looking for in a potential candidate and find the relevant experiences that corresponds with them. The most important thing is being able to display your passion for a particular discipline and being able to evidence that passion through previous experiences/activities/clubs/awards/etc..
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