Department of Materials


25 Mar 2019

Materials Student on Placement at Heineken in Holland

Heineken logo x 670

BEng Materials students have the opportunity to apply for and go on placements in their third year at Loughborough University and we have been catching up with a few of them to find out what they are getting up to.

BEng Automotive Materials student, George Hayward, is currently on placement at HEINEKEN in the Netherlands and is the second placement student we have featured on our Materials news pages this year. HEINEKEN is the second biggest brewer in the world and number one in Europe. The company has operations in over 70 countries employing over 80,000 people. In the UK, it’s the name behind some of the country’s most loved ciders and beers including Heineken®, Birra Moretti, Desperados, Foster’s, Strongbow, Bulmers and Red Stripe, and also owns 2,700 pubs. 

This is what George had to say about his placement experience:

Where are you doing your placement?

“During my Placement year I’ve been working as a Project Manager in the Procurement Development team at HEINEKEN. The placement is based in the Netherlands in the Zoeterwoude office which is located about 30 minutes from Amsterdam.”

What are you doing on your placement?

“From the start of my placement I was placed on the INTREPID project team. This was an incredibly exciting opportunity as INTREPID was the most ambitious global project HEINEKEN has ever undertaken in the procurement sector. Essentially, INTREPID is a toolkit re-platforming project for sourcing, contract authoring and archiving, planning & performance management, and spend analysis (the entire Source-to-Contract suite was replaced). This was rolled out across the 69 countries in the HEINEKEN Global Procurement community and has therefore set a high standard for the type of work I’ll continue to do this year.

“Throughout my time at HEINEKEN I’ve had a range of tasks to complete, including; preparation and sending of communications to the procurement community, data management and validation, and creating training material and running sessions for the new toolkit.  I’ve also been allocated as the project lead for the creation and development of a data quality dashboard which is both a challenging and exciting opportunity.”

How did you find the placement?

“You may have noticed that my placement is not engineering specific, however, project management has always been of interest to me. The process of getting the placement was honestly a bit of a rollercoaster but was completely worth it! The role was in fact forwarded on by a friend from the social sciences department, and honestly, I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to work for a company like HEINEKEN! It was advertised on the Loughborough careers network in late July, and therefore, was a very quick turnaround. I had two interviews by the middle of August and was offered the role a couple of weeks later. With the placement beginning on the 25thSeptember there was a lot to organise in a short amount of time but the company and staff in the Materials department were very helpful. I think my experience is a great example of flexibility within the department in not doing a subject specific placement, and I’ve found that there are a number of transferrable skills between my study and job.”

George Heineken x 300

What extra opportunities you have gained from doing the placement, outside of the placement itself?

“I’m currently living in Leiden which is a beautiful, typically Dutch student town filled with restaurants, bars and canals. The most significant opportunity for me outside of work has been the chance to experience a new culture, meet a variety of new people, along with the ease of travelling to new places around Europe (I’ve already visited several new cities!). The language isn’t really an issue at all, although I would love to learn a new language, Dutch is very difficult to pick up and everyone speaks English which is ideal. The food is an interesting change, but I would highly recommend the “bitterballen” for anyone who hasn’t tried them, and I have to say they taste even better on the rooftop bar of the HEIENEKEN Experience!” (Photograph – George at the Heineken Experience)

How will your placement help you in your future career?

“The work is very different from my typical day at university, however, I will most certainly be bringing back a strong working mind-set for my final year. In terms of my future career, I feel project management is a role that I would like to continue, whether this be in procurement or an area closer to my study.  It has also helped me understand that in the future I would want to work for a large multinational company, as I’ve thrived from being a part of the inner machine of one this year. The placement year has really opened me to the possibility of working abroad in the future, an idea which I was against in the past, and I would highly recommend prospective placement students to consider an overseas internship.”

Any last thoughts?

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the placement so far, the work is exciting and I’m learning every day. The team I’m working in is fantastic and the opportunity to live abroad and experience a new culture is one I’m grateful to have been offered. Furthermore, the job has given me a real insight into the kind of career I want to have which I didn’t have from simply studying at university.”

We thank George for sharing his experience with us and we hope that the above is useful to anyone considering a placement abroad or a placement with HEINEKEN specifically.  We are looking forward to seeing George back at Loughborough in a few months’ time and hope he is looking forward to returning to the UK also! (Although, who could blame him for wanting to stay where he is…)

For more information on becoming a Materials student, please visit our webpages here

If you are interested in Heineken or you are considering joining the Company, try these links: Go PlacesCareers, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Instagram