1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role is working as a formulation scientist. On a day to day basis I work in a project team and independently to improve products such as toothpaste, shampoo and fabric conditioner. I am always interacting with staff internally and often need to call on staff outside my immediate project group for guidance so we can all improve our products together under different work streams. I uite like my work overall however i wish that i could have a bit of variety and difference in my day to day jobs.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have earned an advanced HNC in chemical science in industry and am currently studying for a BSC (Hons) in Chemistry at London Met University. I will be completing my degree in July. As well, the experience has allowed me to gain professional skills such as working in a team, communicating with third parties and presenting. I have learnt so much over my four years here and it has been very rewarding. I am thankful for the opportunities and skills the company has supported me to get.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The programme has been really challenging but at the same time has been really rewarding and i personally feel as though ithas brought out the best in me and what my future career could be. I have enjoyed the experience in terms of the company culture, it's a really relaxed atmosphere and the staff at Unilever are really welcoming and encouraging of the apprenticeship scheme. It definitely meets my expectations for what I expected before I started the apprenticeship scheme here at Unilever.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Very well organised. From the start, you know that you will do four year long rotations in four different departments and you also know how your studies will fit into this. It has good leadership and the apprentice ambassadors are particularly good at helping you out if needs be. I think that compared to other company programmes and schemes such as apprenticeships for example, unilever has one of, if not, the best programme in terms of support, flexability, education and finances.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Support from our employer is great - they are really happy to give us the time we need to do our University work. We also get one day off per exam to revise which is a good help in the exam period! As previously mentioned, if you need any and have to ask then it is provided for you no matter what which i have always found to be a big positive about Unilever as a company. I like how well they treat you here and offer help when you need it.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
A good level of support. The university is very accommodating to the apprenticeship scheme and they are aware that we come in at year 2 so have missed a year of material. If wanted, the help is there and our personal tutor is happy to meet up whenever we want. I think that in some areas of the business there could be more help and support however if you need any and have to ask then it is provided for you no matter what which i have always found to be a big positive about Unilever as a company.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
I find the work that has been done at the university has been very beneficial to my job role within unilever. I have learnt a lot and developed various skills and knowledge through my education. I have found in certain areas of the business that it has come in handy and definitely gone towards my overall work. I think that there is a lot more to learn within the business but overall very good.
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.)
There is a good social life at Unilever. There are also good social clubs and fitness events that you can attend if you are interested! It gives you opportunities to get to know the team outside work. I think there are a lot of local opportunities as well, especially with the Unilever i work with, this may of course change with different Unliever locations around the UK for the better or worse depending on how their HR management team works. I found that the HR in my Unilever send a few emails about local opportunities and charitable events etc.
9a. Would you recommend Unilever to a friend?
I would recommend Unilever's apprenticeship scheme to a friend because it gives you opportunities to get valuable experience whilst earning your degree. The benefits of the salary and the funded degree are also a massive help when you leave school. It's also good to be around experienced people who can help you through both your work and studies. I find that the whole experience for me so far has been great and i would definitely say their apprenticeship scheme is worth doing and definitely would recommend it to someone of a similar age to myself.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Unilever?
The one tip i would give an applicant to Unilever, would be to show you are motivated, have a passion for your subject area and are willing to work hard at both University and work. It's good to demonstrate that you can work well under pressure, and that you are prepared to give up some of your own time if necessary when it comes to studying whilst working. I think that anyone wanting to get into the company should put a lot of effort into getting to know the products and company through research too and try to use this to their ability in an interviewing stage for example.
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