Name: Danielle Scott
Job title: Year 3 Engineering Apprentice
Company & location: Mars Wrigley, Plymouth
Education: Eggbuckland Community College
Why did you decide to go for a career in food? The food industry is full of flavour and offers lots of opportunity for people who strive for success. The industry is constantly growing and evolving and there is always an opportunity to pick up new transferrable skills.
Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): I undertake work which involves preventative, planned and reactive maintenance in the Mars Wrigley factory in Plymouth. The work I do and the on-the-job training I receive is focused around an NVQ, which will give me the qualification for a future full-time job.
What does a typical day look like for you? I’m an early bird, so I get into work at 6am. The first thing I do is look at my emails to see if there are any immediate issues that may need addressing. Then it’s time for my team’s daily morning meeting. We discuss priorities of the day, which includes speaking to engineers to see what jobs they are prioritising for that day and also to see what maintenance will be carried out. There are some jobs that require a real team effort and there are some that can be done solo.
There is no rule for which part of the factory I’ll be working in – so my role is never boring. It’s a very flexible role and we all have skills that can lend themselves to different parts of the factory, so no day is ever the same!
Tell us about how you went about applying for your job. How many stages were there, what did you have to do? Any particularly tough questions? I applied to work at Mars Wrigley when I was 16. At the time, I wasn’t aware of what kind of opportunities were on offer, so I went to a careers fair and learnt about it that way. At the careers fair I came across Mars Wrigley; the company caught my eye immediately and were really helpful – they talked me through the application process while I was there and made me feel really comfortable. Following that meeting, I uploaded my CV online through a job website.
After passing the CV screening, I was invited to a college and was set challenges including wiring a plug, rescaling a drawing and making a shape out of copper wire from the drawing in front of me.
“Doing an apprenticeship was the best decision I ever made; I have learnt so much and gained so many qualifications already”
During the interview process there was a team building exercise where we had to create an object out of wooden planks and present back to the interviewers. I absolutely loved this task and enjoyed collaborating with other people to reach a common goal – something which is really important at Mars Wrigley.
Following the activity, we gave a five-minute presentation on our biggest achievement – mine was winning a national competition for dance. Then we had the interview which involved a lot of questions on why I wanted to work here. I heard back the next day and got the job!
What’s the best part about working for a food company? Every working day is different. When I walk into the factory, I never know what I’m going to be working on – this lends itself to someone like me who is fast-paced and can’t sit still. I also love the travel my role will eventually allow me to do – as a global company I am currently based in the UK, but I can’t wait to see where else in the world my job takes me. On top of all this, I love the pride you feel when you see Mars Wrigley products in shops. I can look at a pack of gum and think, I helped make that!
And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? The biggest misconception people have is that it’s not as simple as it looks; there’s a hugely complicated process behind making food and drink. Take gum for example – you have to coat the pellets of gum which can take around four hours. There are so many stages it has to go through before it’s in a consumer’s hands, and I think this complexity is often forgotten or misunderstood.
What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? Doing an apprenticeship was the best decision I ever made; I have learnt so much and gained so many qualifications already. By the end of it I will be fully qualified and hopefully have a career for life! I have had so many great opportunities already and I can’t wait to see what my future holds at Mars.
What’s your ultimate career dream? My ultimate career dream is to become a manager for a site or president of a brand in a different country, but I have a few more years ahead of me before then!