Production Management Graduate
Hi, my name is Christian and I’m a Production Management Graduate from the 2022 batch. I would like to tell you about my experiences from my first rotation, how it has been to be a PM Graduate in Arla Foods and starting up at a production site.
It is important to state from the beginning that the experience and way of working can differ from production site to production site. I will start my story a bit earlier than my first day. After I got the fantastic news that I got the position as a PM Graduate and I was assigned to Holstebro Dairy (the home of Lurpak and Buko), the site director reached out to me, to invite me to visit the site before my first day in Arla. This gave me an understanding of some of the processes of the production at Holstebro Dairy and at the same time it gave me the opportunity to meet some of my new colleagues.
The first week as a graduate starts out with a training week and is the first out of four training weeks in the program. Here we were introduced to Arla’s values and the their leadership behaviors among other things and to the organization in general. In the training week the focus was on Leading Self. Leading self means getting to know your own strengths and weaknesses, how to run projects and all the things within that area, e.g. change management and project execution. In this week the two graduate programs F15 and PM were gathered in Viby at Arla HQ.
The theme for the 1st rotation for batch 2022 PM was sustainability. Here all PM Graduate’s were assigned to different sustainability projects at their site. In my case, I was working on reduction of energy consumption and water consumption. Both projects are talking into Arla’s strategy of becoming carbon net zero by 2050.
As a graduate you are assigned a mentor and a buddy. Your buddy, is either still a graduate from the earlier batch, or someone who has completed the program. With your buddy, you can ask all the questions you might have regarding the program and the buddy’s own experience and learnings from different rotations and projects. The mentor is a full time employee at Arla, that have several years of experience within the organization. You can use your mentor for many things, like asking for career advice or how to tackle different issues. With the mentor you have all the talks that you are not able to have with either your manager or the program manager.
Sometimes it can be difficult to have a good collaboration and feel like you are part of a group with the other graduates, when you are sitting alone at a site. Therefore, we in batch 2022 decided to have weekly meetings. Here we could discuss different projects and the issues we were facing during a project, and thereby learn from each other to overcome obstacles. This also meant that we have established a really good relationship to each other, which I can only give my warmest recommendations to future graduates.