R&D Apprentice at Unilever

Start Date:
Programme Type:
Degree Apprenticeship
£20,300 annually
Review Date:
May 2019

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Review Score

7.9 /10

1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:


I'm currently in my first rotation of the 5 year apprenticeship. From September to the end of April I was in the beverages processing team and my role was to plan and carry out lab experiments to help with projects. I am now working in the ice cream pilot plant which you do for 4 months as part of the first rotation and my responsibility is helping make the mixes for the project teams that are testing new things.

2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?


Definitely, personally I have developed my skills with how to interact with people a lot older than me in a working environment and also gained a lot of confidence. I have gained skills in planning experiments and producing presentations as well. By being rotated around into different roles as well I have gained the ability to be more flexible and also help with time management of balancing work and uni work.

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?


The actual programme I'm on I'm really enjoying. Being rotated around helps because you don't get bored of doing the same thing and you are always trying out new things. My current line manager I find quite difficult to work with and he makes it quite stressful at some point but I have learnt to cope with this now.

4. How well organised/structured is your programme?


Very well organised. I will stay in my current team for 2 years then rotate to a new role then rotate again after 1 year and keep rotating after 1 year until the 5 years are up. Each year we have 4 blocks where we stay at university for the week and these dates are all pre decided so I can plan ahead.

5. How much support do you receive from your employer?


A lot of support. I have a meeting once a week with my mentor where we can discuss my work for the week and any issues. When I was struggling at the start with my line manager I went and spoke to someone about it and the issue was resolved so I know if I need anything I can go to a lot of people who can help.

6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?


The support is good. We get a lot of feedback on things we hand in so we can improve ourselves and they reply to emails when we are not at uni if we have issues. Sometimes the replies are quite slow which can make it difficult if you have set a side time to do work but I understand they are busy people.

7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?


So far not very much. I haven't really used any of the things I have learnt at uni at work other than the food safety side of things but I've been told that the course gets better after year 1 and I have been working in digital areas which isn't something we really cover at uni.

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.)


Yes, there are loads and loads of clubs you can get involved with. I play football and went a long to that on my first week and its every Wednesday lunch. I found it really helpful as it meant I met people that I wouldn't meat just working in my team and these people actual had similar interests to me.

9a. Would you recommend Unilever to a friend?


9b. Why?

Because its a really incredible global organisation with huge opportunities to progress. The salary is competitive and you receive all the other benefits normal employees get which Unilever offers plenty of. They have a lot of support facilities in place for people if they are struggling with any aspect of your life and they really care about you as a person.

10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Unilever?

Make sure you are just yourself during the application process. You don't have to be over the top and loud to try and stand out. I personally am quiet in group situations however there are other opportunities to show your strengths in individual assessment points such as the presentation.

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