In your time at Unilever as a graduate or placement student, you are set your work goals under a framework known as your “3+1’s” which are linked to the Standards of Leadership (you can find out more about here: http://www.unilever.co.uk/careers-jobs/graduates/application-process/). Typically, the “3” of the goals are on “main role” at Unilever and the “+1” is your chance to support and develop Unilever’s graduate recruitment goals. This could mean being a part of an on-campus team promoting Unilever at a university or managing the onboarding process for the next group of students and graduates to join. From now on, you’ll also have the opportunity to work in developing Unilever’s relationship with Enactus UK.
Hello – I’m Amelia and I’m on the Finance Summer Placement. I’m going into my final year at Durham in October. Here are my highlights so far, things I’ve learnt and what I’ve been working on…
- Free Ben and Jerrys
- Finance Sports Day (Should have seen me win the bouncy hopper race)
- Living in London
- Team away day to the Escape Rooms
- The view from the rooftop garden at the central London office
- Discounted Shop (Definitely making the most of it)
- Lots of freebies!
- After work drinks and meals out
Photo of the winning team of our Finance Office Olympic Games (I’m in the middle!).
I honestly had no finance knowledge/experience before I started (I’m studying Biology and Anthropology). This has not mattered at all and I feel like those studying Finance/economics related degrees had no head start at all.
Finance is a very diverse function – I’ve had nothing to do with any accounting in my placement. I’m working in a centralised finance team that provides financial insights to the category teams (i.e. Hair, Skin Care, Tea etc) and to those teams working with the customers (Tesco, Boots etc). It’s interesting seeing the monthly figures behind brands I use all the time and how they perform compared to competitors.
12 weeks seems like ages but means you can get into the role and make a difference. It goes quickly as you’re so busy with a work plan set on day 1. Sounds daunting but it’s cool to be able to get stuck into your own projects and feel useful.
Things I’ve been working on…
- Creating a file that compares the shelf price of products against our key competitors which updates every week, in each Customer (Learning to love Excel).
- Creating an Information Pack for New Joiners in CD Finance.
- Helping with the monthly sales forecasting process.
- My ‘Plus 1’ – Arranging a ‘Durham@Unilever’ Afternoon – Entrepreneurs Durham Society are coming to Unilever for an afternoon in September to find out about the company and careers.
So far it’s been challenging, rewarding, fun, and a very steep learning curve! The weeks have flown by and I’m looking forward to what the next 6 weeks will bring.
Hello! My name is Harriet and I am a supply chain summer placement student in my sixth week at Unilever. It is fair to say, working at Unilever has exceeded all expectations. I am based at 100 Victoria Embankment in London which is Unilever’s global head office and seats Paul Polman, our CEO. The office is a hub of Unilever activity with people hot desking, coming and going constantly, each with different accents, nationalities and job titles.
I work on a global team based out of Switzerland called Strategy and Operations. Global teams have a planning and strategic role at Unilever, devising solutions to be rolled out globally to realise Unilever’s longer term goals and aspirations. I joined the project entitled War on Waste, we are a team of six working across three functions – finance, procurement and supply chain. The focus is redefining and enlarging the traditional scope of what we consider as waste and creating solutions to reduce this waste. Our project positively impacts our Sustainable Living Plan as well as contributing savings across the business.
The first week was an intense induction, within the first half an hour of sitting at my desk I was involved in a conference call with a planner working out of the Dubai office. On my second day, I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to join my team in Istanbul where my induction continued. I can say with certainty that I learnt more in these two weeks than I thought possible. Climbing this steep learning curve, I was given my project – which I am working hard to complete during my 12 weeks. The project is to create a more fluid and dynamic solution to reduce one of the largest areas of waste. With the constant support of my line manager, I set out the scope and a description of the project in the form of a project proposal and this was sent out to the main stakeholders.
Touring the Ice Cream Factory in Turkey
At this point in my placement, I am at the stage where I am planning the roll out and utilisation of the tool I have designed and created. The tool is an online and interactive database recording and finding solutions to large quantities of business waste. One of the challenges I am facing is how to effectively communicate to all stakeholders, from various parts of the globe, the importance of adopting the changes I am proposing.
I am thoroughly enjoying my placement and I look forward to seeing the project through to completion. The ownership and responsibility you are given is something I did not expect but feel inspired by. The support of my team and greater supply chain function has been encouraging throughout the duration of my placement and even before I started.
When applying for a role at Unilever, I wanted to work on a team that were passionate and valued Unilever’s sustainability agenda and my team have definitely given me this opportunity. Additionally, senior managers have kindly taken the time to meet and explain to me their specific role in reducing Unilever’s environmental impact and positively impacting people’s lives. The passion for sustainable business practice and the interest in the livelihoods of people is an aspect of Unilever that is embedded in every day decision making and the culture. This is something I am proud of and encourages me to continue on my quest to work here when I graduate from University.
Hello, My name is Rhiannon Carr and I joined the marketing graduate programme in September 2010. My first placement was based in Leatherhead, as the Surf and Persil brand executive where I was given immediate responsibility to manage the Surf digital campaign. I had great fun working with the agency creating, what some would call, a digital masterpiece, involving the star of Dancing on Ice, the one and only Danny Young!
After 9 great months of becoming a laundry expert, in June 2011 I set off on a journey to the unknown world of Customer Development (CD). My initial role in CD was the Superdrug Account Manager for Bryclreem and Radox for Men. This was a challenging role coming from marketing. I had to work collaboratively with my buyer and ensure that we were selling enough products at the right price. Three months into my CD placement, my role changed due to a colleague going on long term sick leave and I then became the Account Manager on the pharmacy channel. This role included looking after all brands in every category which was a massive learning curve, but I gained experience far beyond what I thought I would!
A month ago I moved to 100 Victoria Embankment, the global headquarters for Unilever and started my third and final placement in the Global Savoury Team. From the little time I’ve had in the team, I can already see that my role is going to be completely different from my previous two. It is also starting to make me realise the enormous size of Unilever. With Surf and Persil I was focused on the UK market alone, but now my projects are based far and wide which is very exciting! I also get to travel to Germany which is somewhere I have never ventured before!
So why should you apply to Unilever for your placement year?
Unilever is a fantastic company. I never thought I would leave university and start a job at a company that I actually like and enjoy the work that I do. As a graduate you are on the fast track to becoming a future leader, therefore you don’t start off by making cups of tea – you’re thrown into the thick of it on day one. You are also not tied down to your work plan that is set out at the beginning of your placement – you have the ability to create, develop and start your own initiatives throughout your career at Unilever. Everyday you meet new people from all around the world. In my new team of around 30 people, there are about 10 different nationalities, which allows you to embrace other cultures and become a true global marketeer.
The graduate programme is full of opportunities –it gives you a tast of all the different parts of the business, making sure that you are gaining new experiences everyday. There is so much scope to the business; one day you’re learning and working with stains in the laundry category and the next you’re flying to Germany to explore new product ideas as part of the savoury category.
I am an out going, sociable, hard working person and Unilever is the perfect fit for me. If that sounds like you, then I encourage you to apply because the graduate programme may just be the job for you! Good Luck
My name is Rohet and as part of my placement year I am on a 12 month Industrial Placement, working in the Global Procurement department. Currently I am studying BSc Logistics Management at Aston University. Procurement is a vital part of the supply chain and working at Unilever has given me this clearer insight. I fully understand what it actually means and how it interfaces with all the other relevant entities such as Supply Chain Planners, R&D and Marketing.
So why should you apply to Unilever for your placement year?
The company has a great working atmosphere and it employs many people from all around the world. If you are looking to meet new people and embrace new cultures then this is the company for you. There is always meaningful work to do at Unilever and best practice resonates throughout the company. You can be sure to learn new skills and improve on existing skills. Although my placement has been focused on the sourcing aspect of the supply chain, there are also placements available in supply chain planning, manufacturing and delivery. Working in the Hair Care category gives me great joy as I feel part of the development and maintenance of the many household brands that we manufacture such as Dove, TRESemme and Timotei.
A typical day working at Unilever
As the company is so widespread globally, engaging with global counterparts is a day to day activity. Communication is essential for the alignment of work that is being carried out. Analysing information is a key task as it forms the basis of any major decision making. Any decision making process is then further supported by meaningful data analysis which is used to convey current situations and adapted in order to display potential benefits that certain changes may bring.
I hope you apply to Unilever and are successful as working here is an amazing experience and a great addition to anyone’s CV.
Below are examples of typical placements that are currently on offer. Within placements there is always scope to learn additional topics or get involved in additional work alongside your key deliverables. In each placement the tasks and responsibilities can evolve rapidly and you will gain a real understanding of what it means to be a world leader in fast moving consumer goods.
In all of our placements you will get all the support you need to learn quickly and add value to your team. We view these placements as a chance for students to extend what they have learned at University and show what they can apply into a world class business. Above all Unilever values people with the drive to take the opportunities to develop themselves and grow both their knowledge and leadership skills.
Types of Placements on Offer
Innovation Support, Leeds
About the site: Leeds is a world class personal care factory that produces both aerosol and roll-on deodorants for global markets. These include exciting brands including; Lynx, Sure and Dove.
Your role: This role may include the technical implementation of new products, production processes and materials. Bridging the gaps between research, planning and manufacturing you will get the chance to support and lead on changes to our factory on an on-going basis across a range of new innovations.
Benefits:This placement will make use of your technical knowledge in a rapidly moving environment, with real world demands and deadlines.
Expect to be heavily involved in landing exciting new innovations in the factory by liaising with key stakeholders from Senior management, innovation teams and line operations, whilst gaining responsibility throughout.
For other opportunities at the Unilever Leeds site please contact the Local factory directly.
Engineering/Process Improvements, Purfleet (East London)
About the site: Purfleet is a large spreads and dressings factory, producing brands from Flora, I Can’t Believe its Not Butter to Hellman’s Mayonnaise.
Your Role: This role involves understanding the process and implementing process improvements to offer combined benefits of better products at value whilst keeping a constant bias to seek out opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of our products. It may involve aspects of manufacturing philosophies and training, such as TPM, or more complex process technology improvements.
Benefits: The Purfleet placement will stretch your technical knowledge whilst giving you exposure to the changes and implementation of new production methods in a leading factory that supplies products across the region. Expect to be heavily involved in leading others through this whilst liaising with technology teams and gaining responsibility throughout.
Line Improvement, Trafford Park (Manchester)
About the site: Trafford Park is located near Manchester and is the home of PG Tips and Lyons Tea, producing the unique pyramid tea bag.
Your role: Your placement here would involve working with project leaders to develop line improvements within the factory. Depending on the opportunities available and your capability to deliver this may involve tasks as varied as equipment changes, considering leading edge production management techniques and even staff training. Due to the nature of the work this is a placement for those students with an Engineering based degree.
Benefits: The Trafford park placement offers an invaluable chance for you to apply your engineering degree in a real, working environment. You may also get the chance to visit other factories to see what measures they have implemented to give world class production performance.
Environmental Impact Reduction, Loss Downtime Reduction and Planning, Port Sunlight (near Liverpool)
About the site: Port Sunlight is located on the Wirral and is the original site of Lever Brothers, the company that later merged to form Unilever. Originally the site produced Sunlight Soap but it is now the home of Persil.
Your role: Your placement here would involve working to reduce the environmental impact of the factory, help reduce downtime and aid factory planners. Depending on the opportunities available and your capability to deliver this again may involve tasks as varied as equipment changes, considering leading edge production management techniques and even staff training. Unilever is currently trying to double the size of the business whilst maintaining its environmental impact and therefore environmental impact is high on the company agenda. We are currently leading edge for trying to grow our business whilst also reducing our environmental impact.
Benefits: You will have the chance to work in a real environment where your input can really make a difference. Unilever highly values any input you provide and you, as a placement student, can make real changes to how processes work within the factories. You may also get the chance to visit other factories to see what measures they have implemented.
Total Preventative Maintenance, Burton (near Birmingham)
About the site: Burton factory produces both Marmite and Bovril in both the glass, and new squeezy formats.
Your role: The placement involves working to improve the performance of the Burton factory through Total Preventative Maintenance, one of the leading production management techniques imported from the Japanese systems. By learning about TPM you will be able to work on ensuring the processes and methodology are used throughout the factory, even possibly giving training to staff in areas where TPM is not being correctly followed.
Benefits: Working at Burton gives you can excellent opportunity to see the ways in which Unilever factories are trying to develop to improve output and efficiency rates. You will be able to develop invaluable people skills, build on your current knowledge base and possibly even give training to other members of staff. You may also get the chance to visit other leading TPM factories to learn from their experiences.
Total Preventative Maintenance and Lean Manufacturing, Slough (near London)
About the site: The factory in Slough, which is a new acquisition for Unilever, produces a large range of Sara Lee personal care products.
Your role: The role involves working to improve the performance of the Slough factory through Total Preventative Maintenance, one of the leading production management techniques imported from the Japanese systems, and Lean Manufacturing, another leading edge manufacturing technique. By learning about TPM and Lean Manufacturing you will be able to work on ensuring the processes and methodology are used throughout the factory, and hopefully see the benefits of using these techniques.
Benefits: Working at Slough offers an excellent opportunity to see how the newly acquired factory is being integrated into Unilever. You can again make a real impact by coming up with new innovative ways to solve problems and issues within the factory using TPM and Lean Manufacturing. You will be able to develop invaluable people skills, build on your current knowledge base and possibly even give training to other members of staff. You may also get the chance to visit other leading TPM and Lean Manufacturing factories to learn from their experiences and take ideas back to Slough.
Environmental Impact Reduction, Norwich
About the site: Norwich produces Unilever’s range of Colman’s sauces and condiments, alongside several other products. The site also has a resident pair of Eddie Stobart spotters that can be found at the factory gates on regular occasions.
Your role: Your placement here would involve working to reduce the environmental impact of the factory through reducing waste, improving efficiencies and possibly even developing new process that reduce the environmental impact of the factory. Depending on the opportunities available and your capability to deliver this may involve tasks as varied as equipment changes, staff training and process improvements. Unilever is currently trying to double the size of the business whilst maintaining its environmental impact and therefore environmental impact is high on the company agenda. We are currently leading edge for trying to grow our business whilst also reducing our environmental impact.
Benefits: You will have the chance to work in a real environment where your input can really make a difference. Unilever highly values any input you provide and you, as a placement student, can make real changes to how processes work within the factories. You may also get the chance to visit other factories to see what measures they have implemented to reduce environmental impact.
About the site: Leatherhead is the Unilever head office and is where many of the various functions within the company are based. There are large amounts teams based here including; customer service, finance and planning. The site itself has a company gym and a free Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Bar.
Your role: You will get to work within a close-knit team, working to plan when products should be made and distributed across the UK. You work closely with marketing, brand development and customer service teams to get popular products on shelves.
Benefits: The main benefit of this role is that you work with many other functions, allowing you to get an excellent overview of the business. The role helps you develop many skills, from utilising your analytical skills to balance customer orders and stock holding to working with marketing to get a new product to market. There may even be opportunities to visit factories and see where the products you are looking after are being made.
Global Procurement, Corporate Headquarters – 100VE, London
About the site: 100VE is the Unilever corporate headquarters and home of the global procurement teams.
You role: Whether it is sourcing bulk agricultural commodities where Unilever is the main global user, or specialist active ingredients that give our products that something special – you will work closely with our suppliers and product teams to find optimal solutions. You will be expected oversee and complete detailed analysis (good knowledge of Excel would beneficial) and benchmarking exercises, whilst also inputting into key procurement projects. You will also be considering business cases, available technology and improvements in materials across an entire category of products which are used over 2 Billion times a day all over the world.
Benefits: With varying size and scale of commodities, from bulk agricultural to specialist packaging materials, with considerations from cost, product quality and environmental sustainability of our products there is lots of opportunity to make a real business impact.
Phew… the past two weeks have been a blur of learning and new people. I have just started an out of function placement from my beloved, methodical world of R&D and have been transported to crazy, fast paced marketing.
The culture shock has been massive, but so valuable as I can already see so many useful insights that will help me work with marketing more closely when I return to R&D. After two weeks I finally feel like I’m getting to grips with it all!
The project I am working on is for a product launch for the Dove hair range. I am currently in the process of working with a graphics designer we have in the team to design the new packaging and a copy writer to write the product descriptions
It is phenomenal how people have listened to my opinion from day 1 and how I am helping to shape this new range under the careful guidance of my very experienced team. It will be amazing to see this launch in the future and be able to see the direct impact of my work.
Today and tomorrow are big days for the team as the marketers from all the regions are visiting us to talk about the projects we are working on and decide who is launching what and when. I am really looking forward to this as it will give me a good grounding in all of the ongoing work and it will be great to meet the people I will be working with over the next six months. Will keep you posted on my progress!