Worked within the Sales team, consequently enabling you to work on analysing sales performance, portfolio and promotional recommendations, negotiating investments with the clients as well as dealing with invoices and creating internal data bases.
This industrial placement at Unilever has given me a great opportunity to learn and build upon skills that I began to develop at university in a working environment. You are given responsibility from day one to lead and manage projects, whilst having the support from your team. I have enjoyed my year at Unilever in HR, where I have gained business insights and help me decide on my future career path.
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I felt extremely valued by my work colleagues, especially in my immediate team, where I was always being given feedback on my work, be it positive or informed improvement areas. When I completed I good piece of work the rest of my team would let me know, and if there was a time when something wasn't quite up to standard, they would also provide feedback on this, The team I worked in was very close-knit with it only being small, and so they always had time to talk to you about things
I had a line manager, along with two other employees who I worked with directly on different aspects of HR. I could approach them if I had any questions or needed any additional support, however the culture of Unilever is to encourage employees to first of all try to find the answers themselves as that is the best way to learn and develop. I received regular feedback from them to ensure continuous development as well as two formal reviews against the Standards of Leadership (one at six months and one at the end of placement). I also had a mentor whom I met with on a regular basis to discuss how my placement was going and if I needed any additional. I had access to additional eLearning courses to develop skills in areas such as assertiveness and project management.
I always had something to do, though naturally, some days were busier than others. I never felt completely overwhelmed with work, and I was able to complete all my tasks within the 9-5.30 time frame. The variety of the work meant I didn’t get bored of working on one thing, as I was always able work on something else if I felt I needed a change.
Unilever makes sure its placement students have responsibility from day one. In my first week I was sending reports out to the customer teams and following up on any actions with them. My manager made sure I took the lead on some projects; so I represented the UK when building a European reporting system, and I took the lead on presenting and proposing a project to a customer.
During my placement, I have learnt many invaluable lessons and gained transferable skills that will benefit me no matter what profession I enter. These skills range from stakeholder management to communication and networking. Whilst my placement will not directly impact on my degree, I believe there is no substitute lesson for your first job and at Unilever, you will gain skills that will carry you for the rest of your career.
There was a good atmosphere in the office and everyone is very welcoming. There is good team spirit and the atmosphere is very much geared at getting the best performance possible for the company. Whilst there is a good atmosphere in the office, there are not many team events or socials outside of working hours.
The work placement is well organised and as it is a well established placement programme, it is well structured. Although well structure once on the programme, the communication before starting is limited with information on location and team delivered very late (making it difficult to sort out accommodation, although the company does support with this).
Unilever and my team have invested a lot in my personal development, from providing me with access to eLearnings, face to face trainings, a mentor and having regular review sessions giving me constructive feedback in order to develop myself. Since the start of placement I have had the opportunity to develop my skills in the workplace that I will use and apply in my future career.
Very appealing. Unilever's Future Leaders Programme (grad scheme) offers many opportunities across the business but is very competitive to get a place on. You do rotations during your 3 years with Unilever so you can see other parts of the business. It's such a lovely place to work so securing 3 years with the business isn't a bad start.
Unilever didn't host any social events for the placement students, except from the induction event at the start of placement and then bringing all the interns together for a mid and end of year review session. There was a good atmosphere among the interns at the Leatherhead Office where we would meet up and I went on holiday with a big group of them! The only downside is that placement students don't tend to live in the same areas which makes meeting up for social events hard.
I lived nearer London than Surrey so this was obviously expensive however Surrey isn't much cheaper and therefore I'd say it was very expensive to live here. About £700/month just for rent and bills. Commuting was also very expensive and Unilever don't pay for this. It's a fun area to live but definitely isn't good if you're looking for a value option.
The Leatherhead office is quite out in the sticks so socialising was quite difficult as it's in the middle of nowhere with no pubs/bars etc in walking distance. You can always arrange nights out in London and meet with friends from work but it is more difficult to go for work drinks than it would be if you worked in a London based office where you can walk to the pub after work.
Yeah lots. Unilever employees do a lot of volunteering so you can get involved with various schemes such as movement to work and young enterprise among others. This means you can take time away from your day job and get involved with things that interest you. The business are generally happy to support any extra curricular activities.