My experience at a Global Blue Chip Company by Sean Jones

The Wrexham Kellogg plant was opened in 1978 and is part of the world wide Kellogg Company. Kellogg is one of the world’s leading producers of cereal and a leading producer of convenience foods. Sean Jones applied for an opportunity as a Finance Intern with Kelloggs after seeing it advertised as a GO Wales Work Placement. Sean gave us an insight into what it’s like to work for a global blue-chip company…

Why did you apply for a GO Wales Work Placement?

As I approached the end of my final year obviously it was starting to dawn on me that I needed to find work. My aim was to find full time employment, but with there being little time and myself having little relative work experience, I didn’t feel I had the pedigree and wasn’t prepared to begin working in a graduate role.

I had heard about the GO Wales Work Placement scheme via the Glyndwr Careers Centre and I have always understood that such placements are vital to gain work-based experience to prepare you for beginning your career, not to mention the impact it has on your CV. year at Glyndwr University, obviously it was starting to dawn on me that I needed to find work. My aim was to find full time employment, but with there being little time and myself having little relative work experience, I didn’t feel I had the pedigree and wasn’t prepared to begin working in a graduate role.

I had applied for a couple of GO Wales placement schemes in the past, however, I did it half-he

artedly which obviously led to rejection!

I can sum up the reasons for applying for this placement of Kellogg’s in three reasons; recommendation, realisation that work experience is vital to prepare for a career and my desire when I saw the placement on the GO Wales website to work for an internationally renowned, ‘blue chip’ company. After all, work experience is vital and work experience at a ‘blue chip’ is prestigious.

I was recommended the GO Wales scheme by a friend who I have known since Primary School through to University. He went on two Work Placements and after the second, was offered a full time contract. This obviously made me believe that the GO Wales scheme was a good way to start a career. When I saw the placement for Kellogg’s I began to plan my application straight away. I tailored my cover letter and CV to the role and I feel this weighed heavily in my favor to get an interview. When I got the phone call f

rom GO Wales confirming I had an interview, I was delighted. I was determined to get this role, so after severe preparation for the interview, I felt as though I was in great stead to be offered the placement.

What project were you tasked with during your time at Kelloggs?

On the placement, it was my task to focus on clearing the blocked invoices database. I can’t disclose too much information about this for data protection reasons, but I was set objectives by my manager to show the quantitative results of my work, which I succeeded with great success.

To summarise the blocked invoice database, it was split into two sections; Core and Non-Core. Core blocked invoices are to do with things that go into making our products (basically packaging and raw materials) and Non-Core is everything else that goes on in the plant (be it capital projects, maintenance or training costs for example).

The blocked invoices are when a good or service is delivered, and we haven’t received the invoice, or an invoice is incorrect or we have rejected goods and sent them back to the supplier, which all means that these sit on our database and can’t be paid. This is a bad thing because it can harm relationships with our suppliers and if our performance was bad for a Quarter then we would be reported as a plant to Kellogg Company headquarters in Battle Creek,USA.

To work on this, it took initiative, problem solving skills and fantastic communication. Every scenario was different and it took some good investigation skills to be successful. This involved working with suppliers as well as internally with other departments of the business, as sometimes, the blocked invoice was our fault.

Other tasks I worked on included; reporting on raw materials variances, attending safety audits of the plant, presentations to Finance department and other departments and general admin work. In my spare time when I was waiting to hear from suppliers or other departments in the company for blocked invoice issues for example; I used my initiative to improve the reporting and databases of blocked invoices.

 What has been the highlight of your experience?

In my opinion, the placement as a whole was an astounding success and I find it difficult to find any particular highlights. If I had to pick anything that sticks out for me, it would be the skills I have clearly utilised and developed on the placement. I feel these stand me in fantastic stead to succeed in the future.

My communication skills and confidence have grown considerably. I now feel although I can deal with many different business situations after applying these skills in this role. I can communicate well with suppliers (with a now excellent telephone manner) as well as my department and other departments who perhaps don’t understand financial terminology and way of thinking. I have always been good at presentations; however I have only ever done them in academic scenarios. Being successful in presenting to the Finance department and other departments has applied these skills to the work place which is vital in my opinion.

The other benefits of the placement have been my fantastic performance in achieving objectives set by my manager, which I feel show my motivation and drive to succeed. Also, I feel working for Kellogg Company is fantastic for my CV and will give me a huge advantage when competing against graduates with no work experience when going for a graduate role. Achieving the City and Guilds’ Professional Development Award in Finance is also a huge success.

When your Work Placement is over, what are your future plans?

Although I feel I have made an impact on the company, there is currently no role available which sums up the economic climate. However, I am looking on the bright side and being positive, as the placement has given me invaluable experience and in this tough job market, I am sure I have the pedigree to gain the career I want and I’m fully confident of securing a graduate role soon. I finish this placement on Friday, and as I have now graduated from Glyndwr University with a degree in Business Accounting, I am now looking to begin my graduate career.

The placement at Kellogg’s has opened my mind to entering new departments to broaden my business knowledge. The exposure to different departments is a fantastic bonus in such a placement and I feel I am interested in being exposed to new routes.

Although it is a very daunting task trying to find graduate employment, I feel I am equipped and I have absolute 100% confidence in myself that I will find a suitable full-time role for myself in the near future.

In fact, I have already got an interview and an assessment day lined up in the coming weeks so the future isn’t all that bleak!

How would you sum up your experience of GO Wales?

The GO Wales scheme is a fantastic opportunity and it gives you the chance to apply your academic learning to the work place. I feel it is vital to gaining graduate employment in the future. I feel how many students will feel; I already had the academic ability to succeed but couldn’t apply it with work experience that exploited my now agile range of personal and work based skills.

I have full confidence and give my full backing to the GO Wales placement scheme. The support you gain is first class and the running of the scheme is fantastic. There are many great opportunities on the website, I mean; I have experience at a world-class international company! If I do struggle to gain a graduate role, I will be applying for more Work Placements through GO Wales.