I’m Sarah and I have just joined the British Sugar Business Graduate Scheme. I graduated from The University of Manchester earlier this year in International Management. In order to progress to the later stages of the British Sugar application you definitely need to spend a lot of time getting to know the business and articulate not only why you want to work there but also why you would be great! For me British Sugar stood out as a company that really focused on who they were employing rather than specific skill requirements. That’s not to say that experience isn’t helpful, but when applying really focus on how you have achieved things the qualities that you have.
After the online application and an initial interview British Sugar invited me to an assessment centre here in Peterborough’s central office and it was impressive to see the commitment from senior staff throughout the assessment centre. We were taken through a series of task including competency interviews and group tasks which allowed us the opportunity to demonstrate our potential. When I accepted the position I was sure that British Sugar was going to be invested in taking the time to develop me as an individual and not just push me through a set process.
On our first week in the business, the graduates from all schemes were brought together for an introduction week. It was an intense week with lots of training and development sessions as well as fun activities to get to know each other better. During the week we got to meet previous graduates, who let us know about their experiences, and a whole range of senior management who introduced us to various aspects of the business.
After the initial training week I started working in central office on my first placement. The scheme is structured so you get to experience four different areas of the business over 2 years. As a graduate you will spend 6 months in each department – commercial, logistics, product availability and procurement. I am currently in my first 6 months with the business and have started in the commercial department. Since I started there has been so much to do, and I was given projects to work on from day one – currently I am working with the sales planning team to prepare for the upcoming sales cycle. Alongside my projects I have been getting to know the business and have been given the freedom to explore different functions and get out to the factories.
Working within the commercial team has been such an exciting start to my Graduate Scheme; however it has been challenging to transition from University life. I am responsible for managing my own time and ensuring I regularly meet up with internal stakeholders. Although I have found some things difficult British Sugar has given me loads of support to help me settle in with the business. In addition to my Line Manager, there is a network of previous graduates who know exactly what you are going through and everyone I have met is more than happy to help you out.
So far I love working for British Sugar as the friendly environment is a great place to come to work every day. I have been given huge responsibilities from the start and I know the scheme will be challenging and develop my skills immensely. I am really looking forward to the next 3 placements and the different projects I will be working on whilst on the scheme.