I was initially attracted to Associated British Foods because of its international presence , the range of exciting brands and companies which form part of ABF, and the ethical and sustainability values it holds.
The application process involved an application form which consisted of questions relating to ABF’s graduate competencies, a phone interview, online numerical & verbal reasoning tests, and an assessment centre. The assessment centre included a meal on the night before so that you could meet with the assessors who were senior employees in procurement at each of the ABF Grocery businesses. This was a really fun evening which helped you feel a lot more relaxed on the day of the assessments. The assessment day consisted of a motivational interview, a group task, a competency based interview, a situational judgement task and an individual presentation. After the assessment day, ABF got back to you with feedback within 3-4 days max.
The procurement graduate scheme is a 2 year scheme, where you are based in two different companies each for 1 year. I spent my first year at Jordans, Dorset & Ryvita, and my second year at Allied Milling & Baking. Typical activities and responsibilities on the procurement graduate scheme can involve data analysis, category management of raw materials, packaging and/ or indirect goods and services, meetings & negotiations with suppliers, interaction with a range of departments including finance, technical, new product development, legal, marketing and sales. You get a significant amount of responsibility right from the start and are really given the opportunity to raise your profile within the individual businesses as well as ABF.
Particular highlights for me include working on the Brexit risk analysis, managing supply crises and working on new product launches.
Throughout the graduate scheme you get offered general and scheme specific training. This includes, presentation skills, time management skills, leadership training and category management. You are also offered the chance to start your professional procurement qualification (CIPS) in your second year of the scheme.
Throughout the graduate scheme you will face many challenges, but what is great about ABF is that the people around you want you to succeed and are always there to help and offer advice. It is a steep learning curve from the start, but ABF has helped me develop significant resilience and commercial skills. The reason I enjoy procurement and am glad to have completed the procurement graduate scheme with ABF is the responsibility and exposure you get given from the start and the variety of areas and projects that you get to work on. The salary is also pretty good too!