Although best known for its confectionery, Nestlé’s expansive range includes everything from baby food to mineral water to Mexican food and everything in-between. Headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland, Nestlé sells more than one billion products every day.
- Good benefits and job security
- Overall a good work/life balance
- Opportunities to develop your career
- Interesting projects and freedom in your work
- Very diverse
- Very large and bureaucratic
- Lack of communication
- Fair bit of administration work
Originally founded as an admirable attempt to reduce the rate of infant mortality, Nestlé has since grown into the world’s largest food company. Although best known for its confectionery, Nestlé’s expansive range includes everything from baby food to mineral water to Mexican food and everything in-between – thus proving beyond reasonable doubt that it’s more than just top of the chocs. Headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland, Nestlé sells more than one billion products every day – in fact, North Korea is the only country in the world where its products aren’t sold.
In his search for a low-cost, nutritious infant formula for women unable to breast-feed, pharmacist Henri Nestlé began experimenting with various combinations of milk, wheat flour and sugar. In Vevey, in 1867, he hit upon the mix he had been looking for, creating Farine Lactée Nestlé – the company’s first infant food. The product was subsequently marketed and its success took the Nestlé name to the farthest reaches of Europe, before arriving on US shores in 1900.
Although Nestlé began fortifying its position by acquiring condensed milk, chocolate and powdered soup companies at the outset of 20th century, it was actually its ability to adapt that kept it flourishing. Two World Wars forced Nestlé’s hand into diversifying from its mainstay products, resulting in the creation of Nescafé, the world’s first instant coffee, in 1939.
After the Second World War, in 1947 Nestlé picked up from where it had left off at the turn of the century, with the acquisition of Maggi, a European food seasonings company. British foods firm, Crosse & Blackwell, and Vittel, the French mineral water outfit, were the ‘60s additions, leading up to Nestlé’s largest era of expansion in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Carnation, Rowntree, Sunmark and Alpo are just some of the names that joined the Nestlé bandwagon during this time, adding a whole host of well-known chocs to the roster as well as a slice of the pet food market.
Reflecting the social trend towards all things healthy, Nestlé branched out into healthy tea-based beverages, in 2001 – ironically in a joint venture with the Coca Cola Company. In 2006, Nestlé bought the medical nutrition division from pharmaceutical heavyweight Novartis – experts at producing foods and nutritional supplements for those with special dietary needs and/or restrictions. But then, in a return to the sugary norm, Nestlé bought the remaining outstanding shares not purchased during the 2003 acquisition of Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, thus taking control of an impressive 17.5% of the global ice cream market.
Nestlé is the largest food and beverage company in the world and its UK contingent has more graduate openings than ever before. Grad schemes are available in ten different departments and all last between 18 months and three years. Those applying and will need to be flexible and willing to relocate to other parts of the UK.
The ten departments which offer grad schemes can broadly be split into two categories: those which are concerned with the big picture and those which focus more on the day to day operations of Nestlé’s UK factories. Four programmes fall into the former category: finance, HR, marketing and sales. Programmes in the second category include: the manufacturing, engineering, supply chain, quality assurance and SHE (safety, health and environment) schemes.
Graduate responsibilities are varied and, depending on which programme you’re on, can range from solving production line issues and improving the processes needed to make products to helping with the development of Nestlé’s various brands. Applicants are advised to research each scheme thoroughly to find the one which is right as you can only apply to one of Nestlé’s graduate schemes per year.
For most of Nestlé’s graduate programmes the minimum requirement is a 2:1, (or 2:2 if you’ve gone on to gain a Masters), in any subject. However, for some schemes there are more specific requirements; engineering requires an engineering degree, and for quality assurance you need to study a science related subject. All the schemes have a starting salary of £27,000 and an added incentive in the form of a welcome bonus worth £2,000. Nestlé’s graduate programmes start in either February or September following the application deadline in November the previous year. It’s better to apply as early as possible, as positions quickly fill up.
The recruitment process itself is thorough, and after the initial online application there are four key stages. The first stage is to complete a series of online tests. Next stage is somewhat unique to Nestlé: you’ll need to submit a YouTube clip to showcase your creativity – but don’t worry, it can only be viewed by the recruiters! For successful candidates, a telephone interview then follows. This lasts around 30 to 45 minutes and is conducted by a manger from the department you are applying to.
The final stage is an assessment centre in either York or Croydon. You arrive the evening before to have dinner with one or two graduates already on your specific programme, and the following day you are tested in four ways: a group exercise, a decision making task, another batch of psychometric tests, and finally, at least one interview. The interview, or interviews as the case may be, will test you on your technical and subject knowledge before probing further into who you are as a person and why you’ve chosen a graduate career with Nestlé.
Placement years are available at Nestlé and begin in June/July each year. As with the graduate schemes, you can choose from a diverse range of departments, including engineering, supply chain, finance, HR, information systems (IS) and nutrition, health and welfare (NHW). You will be paid £16,500 for the year.
For those wanting a taste of life in Nestlé’s sales department, the company offers a summer sales internship that lasts ten weeks and starts in June each year. Interns are placed in the Nestlé sales department in either Croydon or York, and will join a sales team working on an active project. As with the placement year, you will be paid £16,500 pro-rata and Nestlé will help with accommodation costs if you live far from the area. If you perform well then there is a chance you’ll be kept on for the Sales Graduate Programme afterwards.
To apply you must have at least 280 UCAS points and be expecting a 2:2 degree. Applications for both Industrial placements and Internships can be made online and feature a comprehensive application form followed by a half or full day assessment centre.
Nestlé Graduate Recruitment Info
Graduate Programmes: November
Industrial Placements: January
Summer Internships: February
No. of employees worldwide: 280,000
No. of employees in the UK: 7,000
Annual graduate intake: 50
Graduate starting salary: £27,000 + £2,000 welcome bonus
Industrial Placements: £16,500
Summer Internships: £16,500 pro-rata
Production and Technical
Research and Development
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