M&S food products are loved by our customers for being innovative, delicious and great quality. Can you imagine being a part of creating them? Perfecting every mouthful, ensuring high-quality standards and using your expertise and knowledge to create something really special?
Colleagues on M&S Food Technology Early Careers programmes get the opportunity to do just that, like grad Alice.
Joining M&S initially on a Summer Internship following her first year at University studying Food Technology, Alice had the well suited first assignment within M&S confectionery. Sounds like a sweet gig!
“I lead on a project to improve the consistency of gummy sweet texture… having a sweet tooth this was the dream project for me! I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the Internship, from visiting our sweet factories, to designing experiments, or carrying out product tastings and quality control.”
Returning to her studies following her M&S summer, Alice was keen to learn more and joined M&S again as a business placement student following her second year of University.
“This time I worked within the Delicatessen category and lead a project in improving the eating quality and process efficiency of roast poultry, to which I spent my time trialling processing equipment with a research institute in Germany, followed by an 8-month attachment working for one of our seafood suppliers in Scotland. Again, I adored the placement scheme and was desperate to return as a Graduate Food Technologist; what better place to work as a Foodie, than an organisation so focussed on market leading quality and innovation!”
Bringing quality food products to life
On Early Careers programmes, M&S actively encourages getting involved in activity across the business, giving you the opportunity to find your passion and gain experience in areas you are really interested in. For Alice, this means exposure to all categories across the food group, including factory visits, in stores, distribution centres, and with each of the key support centre roles within the food group, outside of Technical.
“The most enjoyable part of my scheme so far has been visiting suppliers and seeing how our products are made. As M&S encourage graduates to travel with Technologists across the food group to gain knowledge on different processes and network within the industry – I’ve even watched the Colin the Caterpillar cake being made!”
Now contributing to an exciting, cross-category project working closely with M&S growers and farmers to drive focus on agricultural sustainability, she is really proud to be playing her part in Plan A which is at the heart of M&S ambitions. Alice is also working on a project to implement quality control in M&S depots and distribution centres, aiming to identify any quality defects and preventing them from reaching stores.
“This will help us to maintain our high-quality standards and protect our customers from receiving sub-standard quality products. My involvement in this project has been to lead the relationship with the third-party company carrying out quality control and to optimise the inspection process.”
Real support and broad experience from day one
Alice’s top priority has always been to gain as much experience and knowledge of the industry as possible, and her line manager has been very supportive in helping her to manage her workload so that she gets the well-rounded experience that she really wants.
“I have always felt welcomed and part of the team as a Graduate Food Technologist. From the start of the scheme, I hit the ground running and was given responsibility from the get-go.”
“I feel really appreciated for the work I do across the business and, as the scheme progresses, I have been given more autonomy within the role. For example, this year I have been assigned as the Lead Technologist of two supplier sites and have been empowered to manage them how I see fit, with offered support where I need it.”
Will your future be in Foods? If you’re studying a food related science degree, keep an eye out for M&S programmes this Autumn.