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In the eyes of Avnish, the choices you make at 18 don’t have to dictate the rest of your career. She’s always been intrigued by human behaviour, which is why she decided to get her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Cambridge. Afterwards, she wanted to go in a different direction and opted to gain her Master’s degree in Marketing. Now, she’s thriving in her role at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) as a Supply Chain Graduate – proof that saying yes to new experiences is an effective means to progression.

Question: What made you decide that you wanted to pursue a graduate scheme?

“After completing my Master’s degree, I applied for several jobs in the field, but found that I lacked the professional experience to manage those roles. The catch-22 was always that you needed experience to be hired, but no one was willing to hire you and give you that experience. I then started searching for graduate schemes in order to gain experience, whilst also being paid, so that I could learn without being placed into a role with too much pressure or responsibility. Graduate schemes are great for developing people by providing them with opportunities and exposure to companies without the impossible requirement of professional experience at 21.”

Question: What was the application process like for CCEP’s programme?

“The application process for CCEP was by far the fastest and easiest. We were asked to provide some information on our education and CVs and that was all it took! But, the selection process was more rigorous and fun. After applying we had to record video answers to questions, and if successful we were invited to an assessment centre at CCEP headquarters in Uxbridge, London. We had to prepare a presentation, do a competency-based interview, and finally a group task. There were, of course, unlimited free drinks!”

Question: When did you join the programme and how has your experience been?

“I joined the programme in September and it has been a whirlwind! The first three months were focused on inducting us into the company and making sure we understood how the business functions – from supply chain to commercial. Then we visited sites from London to Glasgow, attended the annual Food and Drink Awards, and enjoyed conferences at both Twickenham and Wembley stadiums. It was really enjoyable, especially being with the other graduates as we formed our own network and friendships.”

Question: Do you have any advice that you’d like to share with university students thinking of applying?

“Apply, apply, apply! We have graduates from a range of degrees, from Law to History to Nutrition. This graduate scheme is more about you as a person, and it’s a great way of kickstarting your career in a world where graduates are finding it extremely difficult to find their first jobs. CCEP is a huge company with so many opportunities for all types of careers. Getting in here from the beginning isn’t something I would have imagined possible – but it is!”

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