R&D Food Science Apprentice at Unilever

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Start Date:
Programme Type:
Degree Apprenticeship
Review Date:
June 2020

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


My role involves talking to suppliers to ensure that specifications are updated and contain the relevant important information required so that the materials delivered are of the right standard. I also spend some time assisting with research and development type activities involved in making cost savings, structured team assessments (for tasting ice cream) and more.

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


Since starting I've learned a lot more about emulsifiers (the portfolio I look after), about how ice cream is made, the critical control procedures required in making ice cream. I've also become better at presenting, preparing and taking note of what is important during meetings and being independent in taking action after meetings.

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?


I am thoroughly enjoying the programme as I get a lot of support from my university and my employer. I'm constantly learning every day and being subject to new experiences within the workplace. It's challenging, but in a good way which helps me to develop as an individual. I like the variety within the apprenticeship and the role I do at work.

4. How well organised/structured is your programme?


My programme is very well structured with the university setting work on a regular basis and getting in contact every few months to check that we are doing fine. Assessments are well reviewed and I'm always given more work and feedback if ask for it. Support from the workplace is great, with my mentor always offering to assist if needed.

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


My employer is very supportive of the programme and gives me the allocated 20% time for my studies which is great for learning the course content. If needed I can have regular meetings with my mentor who will help assist me through assessments if I'm struggling and is happy to read through my work if I'm unsure of anything.

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


My training provider gives plenty of support and tells us can always ask for more work if we want to strive further. The feedback given is thorough and I can easily talk to my tutor via email or set up a call if needed. Wherever there is a potential problem, they are willing to help.

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


The learning I get from my training providers gives me useful insights into the procedures that will take place in the food chain such as HACCP. This helps allow me to understand why we have certain control procedures in place when producing food products and the importance of HACCP. I also learn more about the individual sub components of food and can better apply my learning in the workplace.

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 are many extra-curricular activities you can do such as football, choir, yoga, running, gym and more. You only need to go and seek them out! They are frequently advertised so many people are aware of them. You can take part during the day or after work and it's a great time to socialise!

9a. Would you recommend Unilever to a friend?


9b. Why?

Unilever provide lots of support and the work environment is fantastic. People are always supportive and helpful, understanding that you're trying to learn and pick up knowledge. People check in on your mental wellbeing which is especially important these days and are looking for opportunities to help with your development which I think is fantastic.

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

It sounds cliché, but be yourself. Talk about your interests which are relevant to whatever part of Unilever you're applying for, for the apprenticeship. If it's food talk about food - if it's beauty care talk about that. Make your interests a part of your work and suddenly you can do work relating to what you're passionate about.

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