Technical Graduate Scheme at Associated British Foods plc

What is it like to work in F&D?

The best part of working in food and drink is that you get to see the results of your work in day-to-day life when you visit the Supermarkets. Another great thing about F&D is the amount of variety and how fast-paced the work can be – consumer trends are always changing which means that we need to continually develop new products to keep up with the market and keep our brands interesting and creative!

What is a career in technical in the F&D industry?

Technical within the food and drink industry involves all aspects of product quality and food safety management. This includes everything from approving raw material suppliers to signing off packaging artwork, and everything in between. The technical team at Allied Mills help to ensure a seamless changeover with every unique wheat harvest, which is supported by laboratory testing. At Allied Bakeries, supporting the food safety programme and maintaining audit standards is fundamental, as well as working closely with production to monitor and improve product quality. 

Examples of jobs you might be interested in after the Technical Graduate Scheme could include a technical role at a manufacturing site, working as part of an New Product Development (NPD) team or a food scientist in the laboratory. Some technical roles are very specific if you have an area that really interests you, or others are more generic if you prefer to have more variety (like me!). I currently work as Technical Manager at AB Sports Nutrition in Brighton, no two days have been the same so far! 

Experience on the scheme

What job roles have you had?

Whilst on the Technical graduate scheme, I had the opportunity to work in 4 different locations and covered several roles within each of these. I started my scheme at Allied Technical Centre in Maidenhead, where I spent time learning about specifications, the laboratory department and core food safety skills, for example assisting in site audits and facilitating the improvement of Food Safety standards. I then spent 3 months at Allied Mills in Manchester where I spent time in a variety of different departments – from Operations to Engineering and Distribution. Finally, I completed 2 site placements at Allied Bakeries in Stoke and Belfast, where I led projects on Food Defence and Food Safety Culture. 

What have you enjoyed the most?

The best thing about the Technical Graduate Scheme is the variety. Each placement that I experienced was very different – every day I learned something new! The variety has also helped me to discover the areas of Technical that interest me the most. I have created a wide network throughout ABF, meaning I have felt supported throughout the scheme. I still reach out to my colleagues from other sites regularly if I need support in my new role. 

What is your biggest learning?

My biggest learning has been to get comfortable outside of my comfort zone! The scheme involves lots of cross-functional working, one day I could be supporting Marketing to make a claim on a new product, the next I could be helping Production to resolve a quality issue – this means I have learned to work with many different people, cultures and working environments, which required me to be very adaptable. 

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