From factory floor to Plant Manager: Brian Douglas - General Mills

Whilst there is an array of different employment sectors, I saw the food and drink industry as a good career opportunity, particularly to fulfil my passion for engineering. Despite my farming background I knew agriculture had limited opportunities, whilst the broader food industry offers more diversity.

General MillsName: Brian Douglas
Job role: Plant Manager, Berwick
Company: General Mills

I started working for General Mills Berwick, the site where Jus-Rol branded pastry products are made, as a summer student in 1986, initially as Process Operator on the manufacturing lines. I was then moved into the engineering workshop where I gained my first taste of engineering within a food manufacturing environment.

That same year I studied Three Dimensional Design at Sunderland University, returning to Jus-Rol during each of the holiday periods to work as an engineering labourer. This enabled me to put my theoretical learning into practice, whilst working on various fabrication projects.

After successfully completing my degree, I joined the company as a full-time employee as an engineer within the Projects team. During my first year at Jus-Rol, I also completed an NVQ Apprenticeship in engineering through a local college whilst working within the Project team.

The food sector is really a thriving place to be and I'm delighted to have had the opportunities to develop my career within General Mills through a number of Supply Chain positions into my current role of Plant Manager of General Mills Berwick.

I also have the opportunity to support the development of others, helping them achieve their personal goals whilst we all contribute to making our business even better.

I've enjoyed all of my work to date, and many of the projects I've worked on have allowed me to make a difference and add value, particularly when working on change projects and new developments. General Mills is a global business and I've been lucky to have the opportunity to work on projects to set up new plants in different countries which has been a particularly satisfying achievement of my career to date, as well as overseeing the introduction of the highest, state-of-the-art automation at the Berwick site.

If you're unsure about a career in food and drink manufacturing, I would definitely say go for it! Looking back, if anyone had told me I would be where I am today – I wouldn't have believed it!

I have enjoyed every minute of working for General Mills, especially because you are exposed to a variety of different roles and experiences. I have also built new friendships and had the opportunity to learn from my colleagues around the globe. Everyone wants to share their wealth of knowledge and experiences which has made learning easy even when working within different cultures. I'm looking forward to many more challenges and opportunities.

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