We’ve gone from having less than 100 apprentices in 2013, to 300 in 2023. We currently offer 23 different programmes, from Level 3 to Level 6 Degree Apprenticeships, spanning across all nine of our business functions and nine locations across the UK, including our historic home in Port Sunlight, our innovation centres in Bedfordshire and Leeds and our head offices in Surrey and London.
In addition to our school leaver apprenticeships, we also offer upskilling apprentice opportunities to our existing workforce, to ensue our employees are equipped with future-fit skills.
Tapping into generations of talent
Having diverse insight and ability to challenge us to think differently within our organisation is crucial to our success. Over the last few years, we have seen roughly 90% of our apprentice population securing full-time employment or education opportunities within 12 months of completing their programme. Specifically of the 38 apprentices who completed their programme in H2 2022, 21 have stayed working at Unilever (three of which moved on to the Unilever Future Leaders’ Programme), and 17 moved into other permanent roles at other organisations.
Reaching out to a wide pool of potential future employees
We work hard to promote our apprenticeship opportunities in schools where we can give students from all backgrounds the chance to learn about the career opportunities available within Unilever and across the wider labour market, as part of our work to build a diverse business, which begins with diversifying our recruitment and the reach of our work experience opportunities.
To show young people the variety of careers open to them, we’ve also designed an extensive ‘school menu’ of activities including an innovation game and a CV workshop, giving students exposure to career choices and application support. We align with the Gatsby benchmarks, further encouraging schools to run sessions with us. Over the last two years, our outreach activity reached over 12,000 school students in the UK, which has had a direct impact on applications for our apprenticeship programmes.
We also partner with organisations that specialise in supporting social mobility and diversity such as Movement to Work, upReach, Amos Bursary and Enactus. As a founding member of Movement to Work, we partner to offer a four week work experience placement with us, for young people who are not in education, employment or training. Students who show their ambitions and interest in Unilever may be fast-tracked to the last stage of the recruitment process for our apprenticeship programmes. Since 2016, 32 Movement to Work trainees have progressed onto further employment within our organisation, either into apprenticeships or direct hire roles.