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Once a foodie, always a foodie

I was always curious about exploring new food and recipes growing up. At school, I had a keen interest in food, human biology, and the environment, and before I applied for university, I was looking for a way to combine all three of my favourite subjects. That’s when I found Food Science and Nutrition, and now I’m completing a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Leeds. As part of our course, students are encouraged to take up a temporary role, learn skills on the job, and discover what it's like to work in the field we’re studying. I was eager to take my passion for all-things-food and surround myself with like-minded foodies, and Co-op has a great reputation for looking after employees, so I decided to apply for an undergraduate role working as a Junior Product Developer.

What it’s like to be a Junior Product Developer

When you work as a Product Developer in the food industry, no two days are the same. One day I’ll be researching trendy new products, and the next day I’ll be tasting food. It’s definitely not just a desk job. The role is so interactive, and you’re constantly communicating with suppliers, project managers, buyers, and other developers. My favourite part of the job is testing products and collaborating with the other guys in my team to create amazing food. It’s a rewarding process. The company has been really flexible regarding Covid, too. Co-op understands that everyone is different, and the company is always willing to be flexible. My work-life balance is great, and I love splitting my time between home and the office – it makes coming into work even more fun.

What makes Co-op so great?

One of the reasons Co-op is such a good company to work for is the support. I’m always in touch with my line manager and my ‘buddy’ (a Co-op Colleague who helps me out with day-to-day tasks), but every single colleague at Co-op is friendly and happy to help. They’ve got a great workplace culture there. The other thing about Co-op is that they understand students are here to grow, and they don’t expect you to walk in as the finished product. It’s more about showing them that you’re excited to learn. I can definitely see myself pursuing a career in Product Development after university. I’m only two months into my placement, but I feel like I’ve already picked up skills I’ll carry with me for life. I feel comfortable using the software Co-op’s Product Developers use, and I’m starting to pick up the industry 'lingo' too. I can’t wait to see what the rest of my placement with Co-op brings.

Erika King

Undergraduate Junior Product Developer

Our roles within retail support

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