Read about Gunjan's industry placement experience at Delifrance
I'll be blogging regularly to give you an insight of what a placement is really like.
Because of my shy nature, it took me a while to be a 100% confident and not overthink before speaking my mind. However, I received valuable help from the previous placement student and I’m part of a great team who always have my back.
A day in my work life
My role revolves around dealing with customer complaints. These could be related to the quality, texture, appearance, packaging or an occasional foreign body in our products. We try to receive as much information about the product, including the product code, complaint description, any photos to help visualise the problem and finally the traceability details. These consist of the ‘best before date’ and batch details printed on the labels or films surrounding the item.
After collating all these elements, I log them onto our online database, sending it to the relevant factory and site quality manager, who then investigates the root cause of the incident. They report back with their findings, and it is my job to write back to the customer in words that they would understand.
I also help look after the Délifrance Customer Care emails, to answer any queries regarding our products. This includes preparation guidelines, allergen and cross-contamination concerns, and sending through relevant BRC certification. This is an internationally recognised mark of food safety and quality. We carry out quality checks, to make sure our products are within the specification and appear as identical as possible, in terms of size, shape and colour. These are some of my job responsibilities, in addition to supporting the Technical Team with their daily duties.
Quality checking products
I am now halfway into my placement. After 5 months, I flew back home to Dubai for the Christmas holidays. Although work has been great, it was so lovely seeing my family and friends. It was an excellent getaway to reflect on the past few months and think about what I do and don’t enjoy about my placement.
I definitely love having a routine, and I’m part of a work environment where I receive great support from my team. I am now responsible for a variety of tasks which makes me feel valuable and is a morale booster. However, it can get very stressful with multiple deadlines to meet. Needless to say, this job has undoubtedly tested my prioritisation skills the most.
In the months I have left at Délifrance I hope to visit our other Viennoiserie factory sites to further deepen my product manufacturing knowledge.
Before I start my job
My new job is just a week away. I am currently in Dubai surrounded by my friends and family; however, I am soon going to be an independent working woman with responsibilities. A lot of my course mates have already started their placement, and although it comes with its challenges, I have learned that it is very beneficial and it’s going to help shape up my future for the best!
I am going to be taking over the role of a Technical Assistant at Délifrance: The leader of French bakery worldwide. The job is based in Leicester and promises an exciting work environment where everybody looks out for each other.
As part of the Technical Team, I would be expected to respond to customer queries and complaints, prepare samples for nutritional analysis and keep the online database updated. This requires a proficient understanding of Microsoft Office and exceptional organisational skills.
Deciding to do a placement
Throughout my second year at university, I went back and forth on the idea of undertaking a placement year as I just wanted to get my degree as soon as I can and graduate along with my friends. However, as the placements team started advertising the companies and their diverse roles, I thought about how great the opportunity would be and how much I would learn even before graduating. You gain a great deal of transferable skills and get an insight into the various areas you can pursue within your field.
Although as I decided that the benefits outweigh the cons, it was too late into the year and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to land a job at all. However, the Biosciences Student Placement officers; Judith and Rachel were more than helpful with the application and interviewing process. They were able to provide useful information about the placement experience, review my CV and give valuable tips to impress the recruiters. Soon, I received an offer from Délifrance and I was ecstatic, to say the least.
I am definitely nervous to start my new job; I know that it is going to be demanding, test my abilities and require my utmost attention. Yet I also believe that it is going to be one of the greatest experiences of my life and undoubtedly make my vision for my future a lot clearer.
We are a prime manufacturing site to a wide range of food retailers, major supermarkets and food services. In addition, we have our own Délifrance branded products made available in selected outlets. With factories spread over France, Italy, England and China our large selection of products includes French styled baguettes, pain au chocolats, ciabatta bread, as well as scrumptious savoury croissants. We have also adapted our recipes according to our consumer’s needs, for example reduced fat butter croissants, various vegan products and items using organic ingredients. The company promises a unique French experience to over 400 stores in 15 countries worldwide.