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Matthew Wilcock

Career Path: Brewery Operations Graduate, Heineken UK
Location: Manchester, UK

Having studied Environmental Science, I knew there was a key role for trained professionals to join the manufacturing sector to help reduce resource use, improve conditions and continue manufacturing the same quality goods whilst having less impact on our planet and society. To achieve this I completed a 3rd year sandwich placement in R&D with PepsiCo International working on sustainable snack ingredients for the future and continued in the field with Heineken UK as a graduate in September 2019. I also maintain a connection with my accrediting body IEMA to stay trained and developed in the sustainability field.

What are you doing now?Matthew Willock

I work as a graduate for Heineken UK. Working in their largest UK brewery by volume, I am on a 2 year scheme where I am placed in at least 4 different departments to become a future leader of Brewery Operations and Heineken UK as a whole. My initial role is working in the Logistics Team helping to move the business towards better Just-In-Time service. 

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

Northumbria stood out for me because the course was dual-accredited, the staff were experienced researches and professionals that welcomed me openly, and the city and university provided a friendly welcome that made me immediately feel at home. 

What was it like studying at Northumbria? 

Studying at Northumbria was perfect for me. My course was small, so even lectures felt like seminars with the opportunity to speak, discuss and take part in learning. The range of practical research alongside theory made the studying exciting and engaging.

How connected was your course with industry? 

We had the opportunity of a placement within the department of geography whilst also, especially in final year, having a number of guest lecturers with professional experience.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

I think my placement was essential for my career. Environmental Science is not a common degree for the career I am now in, however gaining a sustainable research placement with PepsiCo got my 'foot through in the door' of the food and beverage industry and now I am settled and on the career ladder I was aiming for because of it. 

What was the best thing about your course?

Off-site research. Whether it was soil or river analysis in the Ouseburn or tourism surveys in Tenerife, my course provided real-life research off campus that opened the theory into a practical experience knowledge building activity. 

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

Northumbria's importance on a diverse and varied curriculum ensured that I could attend interviews for my career and provide evidence of a vast range of topics that will benefit the business I currently work for in the future. Without this range I doubt I would now be in the position I am.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

My interaction between the Union, the University and Staff. I was lucky to have a number of roles which allowed me to make a genuine difference to students' education. By doing this I was able to meet so many amazing staff and students that have taught me so much along the way. 

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Rewarding, Growth, Inspiring. 

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