Robotic Trolleys, Smart Drones and Full Automation: How Things Work at Unilever Factory in St. Petersburg

Education is all about broadening your horizons and developing an understanding of how your future work can help to make the world a better a place. Bearing that in mind, ITMO University’s Career Center organized a tour for ITMO students to one of the factories of Unilever, the leader in the food and personal care products market. ITMO.NEWS writes about the highlights of the tour, the Center’s plans for the future and the best internships at Unilever.

ITMO University students at a Unilever factory

Unilever is an international consumer goods company co-headquartered in London and Rotterdam, which produces food, beverages, beauty and personal care products. In Russia, it owns six factories, 20 distribution centers and employs some 5,000 staff. From the moment the company entered the Russian market, it has invested over 195 million rubles into the Russian economy. The company markets its products under a variety of brands including Dove, Rexona, Lipton, Axe, Knorr, and others.

On March 15, 2019, ITMO University’s Career Center held a tour to one of the company’s factories in St. Petersburg. Any ITMO student could participate regardless of their major and academic performance.

ITMO University students at a Unilever factory
ITMO University students at a Unilever factory

“I learned about this opportunity on the Center’s VK page and decided to give it a go,” shares Kirill Grishin, a second-year student at the Faculty of Control Systems and Robotics. “When hearing the word ‘factory’ you imagine all these manufacturing lines and can’t help but wonder how it all works from the inside.”

The factory ITMO University students got to visit focuses on personal hygiene products and household cleaning goods. In their production process, they use cutting-edge equipment, including a smart drone able to carry heavy loads. According to the company’s staff, one of their main goals at the moment is to achieve maximum automation of working processes to cut production costs and reduce the human factor.

ITMO University students at a Unilever factory
ITMO University students at a Unilever factory

“I really enjoyed the tour. It was very interesting and useful,” shares Anton Medvedev, a first-year student at the Faculty of Technological Management and Innovations. “I see it, above all, as an opportunity to see first-hand how things work at a real factory and understand how the production process is organized as early as in my first years at university. Before that, I didn’t know how many different products Unilever produced: from the popular Lipton tea to all kinds of shampoos and deodorants. What also took me by surprise was how automated the production process is: people are only responsible for controlling the most important steps and packaging. What was also new to me was wearing special protective clothing and head bonnets; it’s all very clean in there, an indicator of the producer’s responsibility for the quality of their products”.

Opportunities for students at Unilever

In addition to taking a tour through the company’s factory, ITMO students also had an opportunity to talk to the company’s manager. Anastasia Sheveleva, an HR manager at Unilever, told the participants of the tour about the company’s offers for students available at the moment. There are several employment options for students within Unilever:

  • Standard three-months internships held twice a year, starting in February and July. The participants get a salary and a project to work on during their internship. Internships are held in various company’s departments from finance and planning to logistics and service department. Third-year students and above are invited to apply;
  • Agile internship; this internship is also paid and can last from one to several months of part-time job. Requirements: high motivation and a good command of English. Follow the company on their website and hh.ru to learn about when the application process for the internship kicks off;
  • Unilever Future Leaders Program (UFLP); this is a two-year program for the company’s future managers. The internship includes work in different departments, your own digital projects, and a salary. The program is aimed at training highly-qualified specialists with excellent teamwork skills, ability to analyze information and understanding of the company’s work at different levels. Applicants are expected to have a Bachelor’s degree, upper-intermediate level of English and above, and good communication skills. Learn more about the program on the company’s website.

Opportunities for students provided by ITMO Career Center

This tour to the Unilever company is just a small part of what ITMO University’s Career Center does. According to Eugenia Shakirzianova, there are three groups of events the Center organizes:

  • tours: regular group tours to various factories/offices of big companies for students of all faculties, as well as the Job Shadow Day;
  • lectures: practical courses, workshops, and lectures by ITMO University graduates and other experts;
  • career opportunities: the City of Professions Exhibition, the Speed Dating Job Interview event, etc.

To learn more about the best career opportunities and keep updated, follow the Career Center on VK and their website (in Russian).

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