Working at Puratos: Global graduate traineeship in Engineering

2 May 2024


In November 2023, Puratos welcomed Tony Saji to the UK team as part of the Puratos Global Graduate Trainee Scheme. Tony embarks on a 3-year graduate scheme where he will complete both local and international placements relating to his chosen field of Engineering. Tony recently graduated from the University of Warwick with a master’s in engineering business management.

We spent time getting to know more about Tony’s career plans and his first few months in the business.

1. What attracted you to apply for the Puratos Graduate Scheme and what was your experience of the recruitment process?

I believe that there is nothing more enjoyable than solving problems together with people with whom you love working with. Honestly, it was the values that the company stands for in its people and business built on Quality, Vision, Courage, Passion, Collaboration, and Integrity that attracted me to Puratos. My recruitment process consisted of four stages, the first step was to complete a logical and numerical assessment followed by a phone interview, an interview with my (to be) manager and then finally with the Global Talent analyst and HR head of the region. During each step of the recruitment process, the support and the care coupled with the professionalism that the interview panel displayed truly reciprocated the values the company advocates for. The international assignment that the company offered as part of the Graduate scheme was another strong pulling factor as being an international student in the UK, learning and working with people from different cultures and backgrounds has always been an enlightening and enjoyable experience, So getting a chance to travel abroad and learn from highly experienced international professionals of one of the industry leaders in the baking industry is something that I believed would truly add value to my interpersonal and technical skillset. What more could a travel enthusiastic engineer ask for?


2. You relocated to Liverpool for your first year so that you could be based on our Fillings and Sourdough site in Simonswood - what is your experience of Liverpool and would you recommend it to other graduates? 

Of course, yes. Liverpool is a lovely city, “the city of music”. From aesthetics to night life, from museums and galleries to beaches, it is a city that has got a soul in everything. The city has got rich history and it has always been fun exploring and learning about the city. Even when you go out socially and meet people from Liverpool, the people of the city are always welcoming, friendly and makes you feel at home. The most interesting thing for me to explore and get to know more was about the legendary “Beatles” who are from Liverpool. Liverpool is truly my home away from home and by the way I am a Manchester united fan! Now you know that you can believe me!

Image credit: Unsplash

3. How would you describe your experience of working in the food manufacturing industry so far?

Food manufacturing industry is a fast-paced industry, and there is always a sense of continuous improvement revolving around the industry. Puratos, being a strong advocate of innovation and improvement, gives you the right fuel to strive to excel in daily operations and the various projects you get involved in. A very broad product portfolio, the need to maximise capacity and at the same time ensure the utmost quality makes the industry challenging and interesting. As I joined the Capex projects and engineering division, I support projects that help tackle this challenge through economically, socially, and environmentally feasible solutions which makes every day of my work exciting with innovative projects and ideas being introduced, discussed, and executed.

4. What has been your highlight or most enjoyable moment so far? 

Puratos is a company that gives you the right learning curve balanced with practical applications of those learnings in business, there have been many happy moments but the most enjoyable moment for me was when I was given my first project responsibility, which was focused on improving the automation scope in a production packing line, this gave me a chance to apply my learnings I gained during my university and my time at the company . My manager and the engineering team along with my engineering manager gave me full support and nurture from the start of the project, this was very helpful and gives me full confidence that I can deliver the project at our site soon in the best possible manner.

5. Have you been able to learn or experience anything new?  

I would say that I am learning something new every day, be it from a technical perspective or from an operational perspective, during the first month of my graduate program, I had the chance to visit each of the three sites in the UK and got to learn how the different processes from fruit fillings to apple lines work and operate and how the new investments and projects align with the longer strategy of the company. Puratos strongly encourages sharing the best practices across the sites and this has given me exposure to learn as well as help apply the best practices from one site to another.

6. How have you ensured that you are making the most of your first placement in the UK?  

I believe that the first year is when you should be travelling around the sites frequently and understand thoroughly about the process and the challenges each site has and of course meet everyone across the sites in the country and contribute to tackling the challenges.UK is a major country in regard with the scale of operations and has various types of production lines including fruit fillings, jams, powder and even apple lines, my objective is to get a clear understanding of all the different types of production processes that we have here and to help the team implement solutions increasing capacity and productivity. I try to make the most of the opportunities I get to meet my colleagues across the country and visit our three sites in the UK. I recently attended our kick off business conference in January, which was a very fun-filled and exciting experience where I got to meet new people and understand how each one contributes towards the business objectives.

7. What advice would you give to graduates or placement students when applying for roles? 

My advice is always seeing an application or an interview as a two-way contract, it is both the company and us applicants, who are looking out for the best match. So always make sure, before applying or through the interview process that the place is somewhere that you see yourself comfortable in the long term, this is where we must give importance to and think about the culture, values of the company and certainly the responsibilities and competencies the role demands and should be conveying your thoughts on these to the recruiters. What could be more enjoyable than working at a place which reciprocates the same passion you have?

8. What are your plans and goals for the next few months.

Even though I am new to the business, I have got a few projects allocated to me mostly revolving around automation, health and safety, energy reduction and operational excellence spread around the 3 sites in the UK. My plan for the next few months is focused on developing and executing these projects in the most feasible manner and learn from my experienced colleagues as I work my way through these projects and apply those learnings in my future responsibilities.

9. What is your long-term career plan or preference at this stage?

One thing that would keep me fuelled in the long term would be that I continuously learn something and get challenged. Through the responsibilities and exposure to projects over time, I intend to apply the learnings I gain through these in my future endeavours in the company. I see myself in the long term as the go-to person in the Capex projects and Engineering division function helping in the execution of large-scale projects for the company not only from a UK perspective but also from a regional perspective, in line with our vision to move the planet forward by creating innovative food solutions for the health and well-being of people everywhere.