Dom Cowley – Level 4 Project Management Apprentice
Posted: 30th of November 2017 by Emily Dujon
“I applied for an apprenticeship at Unilever for a few different reasons. The first was my decision not to embark on a course at University. I had achieved the A-Levels I was targeted but felt that I did not want to spend an additional 3 years studying, since I felt I would not be fully committed to the course I had chosen. Therefore, I sought an apprenticeship opportunity, having found out about Unilever through school events and their website, I was extremely keen to apply. I love the brands Unilever own: Ben & Jerry’s, Persil and Hellman’s to name just a few and was attracted to Unilever’s history, locality to my home and their values and commitments around sustainability.
I am currently completing my second apprenticeship here at Unilever in our Leatherhead office in Surrey. I’ve progressed from a level 3 business administration programme to Project Management, with both journeys in our Human Resource department. The opportunities Unilever have given me have been fantastic! I’ve travelled across the country visiting and working in some of our cool office sites, including Port Sunlight office & factory in the Wirral, known as the birthplace of Unilever! I’ve also enjoyed being valued by so many different people and given real responsibility to make a sustained impact with whatever I’m doing. I’ve enjoyed working with a variety of inspiring people and have loved socialising with other apprentices, whether that be going on nights out or even tackling assault courses – there are lots of opportunities to socialise and have fun outside of work!
The most valuable piece of advice I’ve been given is to network, wherever and whenever you can! This was given to me by one of my team members very early on in to my apprenticeship journey with Unilever and it’s certainly something I’ve stuck to since. You never know how the person you’ve connected with can help you or influence you further down the line, so to sum that up, I would say network, network, network!
My apprenticeship role has certainly met but has also surpassed my expectations of what I thought it was going to be before joining the scheme. This is down to the responsibility I’ve been given to add value to my team and the business – this was shown very early on in to my Business Administration programme with Unilever. Within three months of joining Unilever, I was tasked with organising and facilitating the Spring Programme, a graduate insight programme run every April in our Leatherhead office. This gave me the confidence to know that I was trusted, valued and could own my own projects. If you’re expecting an apprenticeship at Unilever to be making tea and filing, I’d recommend a different programme!
The main piece of advice I would give someone considering an apprenticeship here at Unilever is to be yourself. This should run from the recruitment process right in to your role as an apprentice. Being yourself at work will allow you to relax and feel more comfortable, meaning that you’re likely to get more done and feel more valued, and this was certainly the case for me. The business wants to see individuality, not carbon copies of people.
By the time my current apprenticeship has finished, I will have been at Unilever for almost four years. Where I am now, coming up to two years in the business, I’ve already developed massively as a person, both on a professional and personal level, my confidence has skyrocketed both in and outside of work. I plan to complete my Project Management Apprenticeship in two years and then move on to a new challenge. I know that completing both of these apprenticeships at Unilever will give me the confidence, experience and contacts in order to build my future and move on to even more opportunities and that’s all down to Unilever apprenticeships.