Name: Ethan O’Brien

Age: 20

Job title: Sales and activation alcohol ready to drink (ARTD) apprentice

Company & location: Coca-Cola Europacific Partners

Education: Level 6 chartered management apprenticeship at Manchester Metropolitan University

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? The majority of my childhood I wanted to be a football player, but a bad injury aged 16 put an end to that dream. I didn’t exactly have a dream job in mind, but my plan was to start working in a corporate company work my way through to a more senior level so that one day I might have the skills to run my own business.

Why did you decide to go for a career in food & drink? It was more accidental that I ended up in the food and drink industry, but I knew it would be a very reliable sector as it’s providing a human need. Plus, it’s the only industry that grew during a recession.

“The opportunities are endless, you just have to put the work in and the rewards will follow”

Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): In my role I look after activation for CCEP’s alcoholic drinks range, organising events and displays in stores.

What does a typical day look like for you? Part of what I love about my job is that no two days are the same. One day I might be organising taste testing for a big event, the next I might have to help install a fridge. It’s such a fast-paced team to work in which is what makes the job so exciting!

Tell us how you went about applying for your job: The application process had a few stages. I sent my CV, then did an online interview. After that I was invited for an assessment centre where there were 50 other candidates and we did group tasks and challenges to see how we operate in a team scenario. This was followed by a presentation and then a final interview.

JD & Coke cheers

Source: Jack Daniel’s / CCEP

In May 2023, Jack Daniel’s joined forces with CCEP to relaunch its whiskey and cola RTD

What’s the best part about working for a food & drink company? I think it’s the satisfaction from working in such a big industry and working for a household name that everyone knows and loves.

And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? I think most people think of the industry as just factory work, with limited job opportunities, but it’s the complete opposite.

I have been here nearly two years and even I still don’t know about all the jobs and opportunities here at CCEP, let alone all the other companies in the industry.

What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? Do it, it’s such a great industry to work in!

I go to lots of events and meet a range of people in the industry and everyone says the same thing: the opportunities are endless, you just have to put the work in and the rewards will follow.

What’s your ultimate career dream? I’m focusing on finishing my apprenticeship and working my way up at CCEP, grasping any opportunities I can and gaining as much experience as possible.

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