Research and Development Apprentice at Unilever

Start Date:
Sharnbrook, Bedford MK44, UK
Programme Type:
Degree Apprenticeship / Sponsored Degree (Level 6/7)
Review Date:
June 2021

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


The apprenticeships at Unilever involve a rotation plan where you rotate each year so my role changes regularly. My current role is in science and technologies designing and formulating new ice cream products and them producing them on a small scale as well as leading the organisation and carrying out of tastings in the building i work in.

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


My leaderships skills have developed significantly in this role as part of it included being in charge of tastings for my building and ensuring they were carried out safely during the covid pandemic. My organisation has also improved as im required to plan mixes that are being made weeks in advance and ensure they run smoothly.

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?


The programme is really enjoyable and fresh because of the rotation scheme. It means the we get a large experience of a range of categories and roles and if you arent enjoying a role you know its only for a year or if you really dont enjoy it you can seek support and rotate early.

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4. How well organised/structured is your programme?


The programme is very well structured, you spend 2 years in your first rotation to allow you to settle in the 1 year in the remaining 3. You also get to spend 4 months in your first rotation working in the pilot plant again giving more experiences. The roations mean you get to know so many people on site often more than people who arent doing the scheme and this means you really feel at home.

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


More than enough. My line manager and other colleagues are more than willing to support me with problems I have whether that be at work or with my studies. There are also plenty of other areas people at work will support you in such as a time to talk team in place to have informal chats about your mental health and make sure youre ok.

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


A decent amount, Some lecturers are a lot better at responding when we are away from university than others so sometimes it can be difficult to get a reply but most of the time it is adequate. When we are at university I really enjoy it and the support is good however sometimes the work set between blocks can be quite difficult and if you have a set time aside in the week to complete it then find you need help but cant get contact with the university it can be quite difficult.

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


It depends on which rotation im doing at work. If the rotation is based on something around digital for example we dont learn anything about that at university. But in my current role because it is more science based I use a lot of the food science knowledge i learn at university.

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.)


The social side of my site is one of its biggest benefits. It is like its own community with a vast aray of extra activities such as football, rugby, netball, tennis, running and far more. It really helps you to settle in on site and meet more people that have similar interests to your own. The site also runs community events such as a yearly panto, fun days and Christmas party.

9a. Would you recommend Unilever to a friend?


9b. Why?

Because my experiences has been so good. They are very understanding and flexible and extremely supportive of any wants or problems I have. There is a large space for development and working for such a global company means you meet a really good range of people from all over. The salary along with other benefits is also competitive.

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

For the application process i would suggest looking into the values and goals of the company and making sure they align with your own personal goals and values. I wish I was told when i started dont panic to much because for the first 6 months no one expects much from you anyway.

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