Unilever: Careers case study
Unilever is a FMCG company producing products such as PG Tips, Flora, Hellmans, Walls Ice Cream and Persil. It has its own branded apprenticeship scheme in the UK to provide a steady supply of full trained engineering technicians.
Unilever is a FMCG company producing products such as PG Tips, Flora, Hellmans,
Walls Ice Cream and Persil. It has its own branded apprenticeship scheme in the
UK to provide a steady supply of full trained engineering technicians. The
majority of applicants for the apprenticeship programme are aged between
nineteen years old. The business recruits up to 10 apprentices per year
the number can vary depending on the business.
According to Hazel Elderkin, Unilever Project Manager: “Our factories are becoming more complex as a result of product innovation and
advancements in technology. This, obviously, drives out requirements for
technical leadership and capabilities. At the same time, marketplace
becoming more difficult as there is a limited talent pool to select from."
“Engineering technicians are moving away from the classic fire fighting and
basic inspections areas to focus on more in-depth improvement issues related to
these latest technologies and novel materials. They increasingly understand the
interaction between machines and material.”
Unilever has set up a successful partnership with West Cheshire College. The
college had delivered training to apprentices based locally but following
was appointed to deliver training to apprentices across the UK. They now
training to around 90% of Unilever apprentices. Around eight people are
to the Unilever apprentice training programme each year.Unilever UK has a rota
of co-ordinators who take turns to visit the apprentices at the college and
monitoring of the apprentices' progress is built into the four year programme
three monthly intervals.
Some of the academic projects developed by the apprentices through Unilever and
the college have brought direct benefits into the workplace. For example,
improvements surrounding a solenoid control box cut down time by a third and
around £18,000 per year.
In another example, a fourth year apprentice reviewed factory top losses,
identified a pump and set about looking to eliminate the risk of the pump
addressing inaccurate level measurements in the tanks. Annual savings of £1250
per pump were achieved as well as improved power utilisation and elimination of
“The Unilever UK Manufacturing Apprenticeship is now a fully aligned four year
development road map forming part of a ten year career path” says Hazel Elderkin. “It incorporates academic, National Vocational Qualification and Unilever
modules, personal development, departmental and site rotation, placements and
secondments. It includes skills and technology development above the Government
Apprentices qualify with a Level 3 NVQ in engineering, a BTEC national
certificate in engineering and Higher National Certificates in operations.
Last reviewed: 09 Dec 2013