Bob Giles at Lindum

So many people think working in food means boring, repetitive tasks in a dull factory. But the reality is very different, says Bob.

Name: Bob Giles

Age: 24 and ¾

Job title: business development manager

Company: Lindum Packaging, Grimsby 

Education: ILM Leadership and Management Level 5, CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) Certificate Level, Focus School – Cottingham Campus

 

Why did you decide to go for a career in food?

Originally I was training to become a management accountant - but then I u-turned

Food has always fascinated me. Particularly as I have spent more than half my life living in Grimsby, Europe’s food town, with food processing factories all around. So many people I know work in the food industry in one way or another, so I suppose it was inevitable that I would end up joining the party sooner or later. Originally I was training to become a management accountant, but when I was approached about this role at Lindum I u-turned and leapt into sales.

Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two)

At Lindum, we work with food manufacturers to help them resolve pallet stability issues, reduce packaging costs and meet packaging environmental objectives. Typically for me this means visiting food manufacturing clients, assessing their current packaging costs and performance and proposing, trialling and implementing solutions to improve performance, save money or both.

Read more: 10 graduates and apprentices share their tips for how to land your dream food job

What does a typical day look like for you?

Typically I spend two days a week in the office and three days out visiting clients. I can be running a LIPS (Lean Integrated Packaging Survey) focussing on comparing the cost efficiency of different pallet wrapping films at a chicken abattoir in the morning, visit a biscuit factory to help investigate why their pallets are falling over in the afternoon and then move on to an ice cream manufacturing site to help resolve why their cartons are popping open in the freezer. The hours are often long and some days include hundreds of miles of driving, but it is very rewarding. Friends and family are always interested to hear about the latest factories I have visited.

Tell us about how you went about applying for your job. What was the process like?

Actually it was pretty easy. I studied for A-levels at Focus School – Cottingham Campus. Shortly after I left I was approached about this position by one of the governors at the school… who is also a director at Lindum – I like to think I was the pick of the bunch from the school and that’s why he chose to employ me!! I only had one interview and started on a “temporary” part-time basis while I was working on some post-graduate studies. Six years later, the rest is history!

What’s the best part about working in food?

 I love working in such a fast-paced time-critical environment 

The best part about working in the food industry is the sheer amount of opportunities there are. Every factory we visit is different. Every client we visit is unique and yet many have similar challenges. I love working in such a fast-paced time-critical environment and helping clients to resolve challenges and achieve their savings goals.

Read more: Sarah MacLellan on how to make it in the male-dominated world of whisky distilling

And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink?

So many people think that it’s all about boring repetitive tasks inside a dull factory. It’s not. The food sector is alive with interesting people, opportunities and challenges that need solving.

What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry?

Start young. Take an interest in where you’re food comes from. See if you can get a work placement at a company that serves the food industry so you can start to build a knowledge of how the sector works.

What’s your ultimate career dream?

I dream of starting my own gourmet food brand and having it stocked in Waitrose, John Lewis and Harrods . I don’t know what yet… maybe a specialist fudge or some kind of specialist confectionary range.

Interested in finding out more about food & drink careers? Check out The Grocer Jobs for the latest vacancies