First year students apply for graduate jobs

As students make their way to university after the summer break, it’s not just those in their final year who will be contemplating their future and looking for jobs; with university fees at an all-time high and the graduate job market becoming increasingly competitive, students are starting to look for post-university employment earlier than ever before – even in their first year.

However, students are not alone in getting active more quickly in the graduate job market; some of the country’s largest and most popular graduate employers – such as consumer goods company Unilever1 – are now engaging with students earlier in their university lives too in an effort to attract top students in the first year of their university education.

In fact Unilever has just launched its inaugural Spring Programme2, available only to first years (or second year students of a four year degree) who, if successful in a three-day business challenge in spring 2013, will have the opportunity to secure a 12 week or 12 month placement at Unilever the following year. During the three day period, students will put their skills and business acumen to the test working on a business case study project and completing a half day assessment centre.

Orla Meade, Graduate Attraction Specialist at Unilever UK and Ireland, explains: “Although we all know that the job market is tough today, particularly for graduates, the situation isn’t all bleak. In fact, companies are still fiercely competing to attract the top students and graduates who continue to be very much in demand. As a result, we’re creating more opportunities to experience life at Unilever through placements and we’re to starting to talk to students earlier in their university lives than ever before, meaning that first year students can sample life with us well before graduating.

“With the recent hike in university fees, students understandably are looking to secure jobs earlier to maximise the investment into a university education and we want Unilever to be front of mind when students plan their career after university. Those who join us for placements during university often benefit from fast-tracking to a graduate role, so it’s well-worth students thinking about their careers as early as possible.”

Applications for the Spring Programme as well as Unilever’s graduate programme – the Unilever Future Leaders Programme (UFLP) – and its 12 week and 12 month industrial placements are now open for a 2013 start. This month 57 graduates have joined Unilever across seven business areas3 – and increase on 2011 - and 51 students have already started their summer and industrial placements. For more information, visit:


Notes to Editors:

To interview current graduates or Unilever’s graduate recruitment expert, please email:

1 Unilever UK was named Graduate Employer of Choice in Marketing in The Times Graduate Recruitment Awards 2012 in March this year as well as the number one company for leadership in Europe according to Hay Group

2 The Spring Prorgamme is available in four of Unilever’s seven graduate programme business areas: marketing, customer management (sales), supply chain management and financial management.

3 Career areas comprise: Business and Technology Management; Customer Management (Sales); Financial Management; Human Resources; Marketing, Research & Development; Supply Chain Management

For further information about Unilever UK and Ireland, contact:

Katya Bridges

UK & Ireland Media Relations Manager

T: 01372 945925 / M: 07785 450287


About Unilever:

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with operations in over 100 countries and sales in 190. Consumers buy 170 billion Unilever packs around the world every year, and our products are used over two billion times a day. We have more than 171,000 employees, and generated annual sales of €46.5 billion in 2011.

Working to create a better future every day, we help people to feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known and most loved brands including thirteen €1 billion brands, and global leadership in most categories in which we operate. The portfolio features iconic brands such as: Knorr, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Dove, Vaseline, Persil, Cif, Marmite, Flora, Wall’s, Lynx, Sure, Cif, Domestos and Pot Noodle.

Unilever’s ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental impact (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal). We are also committed to doing what we can to improve health, nutrition and hygiene, with a target to help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, as well as sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020. All of these goals are itemised in around 60 time-based commitments in our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.

Unilever has led the Food Producers sector in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 13 consecutive years. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. In 2011 Unilever led the Climate Counts Company Scorecard and was named #1 in the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders according to the latest survey findings from GlobeScan Inc. and SustainAbility Ltd.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit

UK & Ireland Corporate press enquiries

For Unilever UK & Ireland corporate press enquiries, please contact the UK press office on the number or email below:

T: UK +44 (0)01372 945925
F: UK +44 07785 450287

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