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Growing their own; how we’re helping Unilever to leverage the levy


“A job at Unilever is a career made by you, with development opportunities, benefits and a working culture that embraces diversity.” This is what you’ll see if you head to the website and careers pages of consumer goods giant Unilever. Not a bad promise, especially when those development opportunities include the chance to undertake a Project Management Apprenticeship with one of the world’s leading providers of household consumables (in the course of our dealings with them, I’ve learned that seven out of every ten homes around the world contain at least one Unilever product. I promptly looked in my bathroom cabinet; I am a statistic!)

So, as one of the many consumers (and, as a marketer, an admirer) of this universal brand, I am delighted that Interserve Learning & Employment is now working with Unilever. Through our partnership with Parallel Project Management and our delivery of a two-year Level 4 Apprenticeship Programme in Project Management, we have been selected by Unilever as a preferred provider to help develop these sought-after skills within its organisation. And what’s so great about their approach is that they’re developing this capability primarily through the apprenticeship route. They are taking the opportunity of the levy and the requirement this brings to invest in apprenticeships and are recruiting fresh, enthusiastic, aspiring young people who will become their qualified ‘Unilevered’ PMs of the future. As with all apprenticeships, an apprentice at Unilever will receive essential on-the-job experience along with formal training to gain the knowledge and skills they’ll need to support the business.

The launch of this partnership between ILE, Parallel and Unilever comes at a time when Project Management is increasingly used across a wide range of businesses and industries if not all businesses and industries. And crucially, it coincides with the Government’s call for more top quality apprenticeships to be designed to play a role in the success of its long-term economic plan. It has introduced the Apprenticeship Levy, which will come into force next month, further supporting the quality training of staff by employers. And Unilever is fully taking advantage of it. Encouraging training of PMs through apprenticeships is a fresh approach and one we are pleased to play a part in. The traditional project manager may have once taken a degree in almost any subject and later trained to be a Project Manager but this Apprenticeship Programme is a much more direct route that will develop the skills, attitudes and behaviours required to be a successful PM.  It will teach the best practices that lead to the most successful outcomes and ultimately offer a professional qualification on the same standing as a chartered accountant or chartered engineer.

So if this sounds like it would appeal to you, take a look at the Project Management Higher Apprenticeship vacancies on the Unilever website. Because who doesn’t want a career with a company who embraces diversity in such a way; particularly diversity of training!

Kim Pattison

Director of Marketing & Communications

0333 444 5055