A-Z Of Employers: Kraft Foods

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The Independent Online

What does it do? Kraft Foods is one of the biggest food and drinks companies in the world, with a collection of brand names, some instantly recognisable to all ages, that have been around for a century or more. Kraft makes coffee, cheese, chocolate, sweets and various groceries, with Kenco, Maxwell House, Philadelphia, Dairylea, Terry's and Toblerone among the products most familiar to UK palates. The Kraft name appeared in 1903 when James L Kraft opened a wholesale cheese business in Chicago. Today's business, though, has strands with roots in several countries, including Switzerland, Germany, Kenya and Britain. Kraft products are marketed in 150 countries, representing comfortably more than three-quarters of the world's nations.

Vital statistics: There are now 98,000 Kraft Foods employees, based in 68 countries, of which 2,200 work in the UK.

The office: The UK workforce is split between the head office in Cheltenham and the main manufacturing and R&D site at Banbury, which is one of the largest coffee-production sites in the world.

Is this you? Kraft takes about 20 graduates a year, in two broad categories. You can either enter in a commercial role or, with technical qualifications, in an IT, engineering or R&D position. The commercial openings are finance, HR, sales, marketing, supply chain, procurement and various corporate affairs roles. You'll need to have an idea what you fancy before you apply, and be on for a minimum 2.1 degree. Any work experience will help, as will your ability to show you have the potential to influence and persuade people.

The recruitment process: Online applications start at the company website at www.kraftfoods.co.uk/careers. Be prepared for telephone interviews, online reasoning tests, and two rounds of face-to-face interviews. Throughout the process, you'll be given plenty of opportunities to tell the Kraft people about yourself as an individual, as well as to show what you're worth in group situations. Training lasts two years, and alongside your real departmental job, you'll follow a central training programme, including company awareness and presentation skills. In addition, each graduate is assigned a senior manager as their mentor, and previous graduates are encouraged to act as "buddies" to new recruits.

Top dollar? This year's graduates are starting on a salary of £23,500, plus, where appropriate, a contribution towards relocation expenses.

Beam me up Scotty? Typical first jobs after the graduate scheme could be an assistant brand manager, project manager of a supply chain, or possibly working abroad as part of Kraft's exchange programme.

Who's the boss? If anyone deserves the title of Big Cheese, it is Kraft's chief executive since 2003, Roger Deromedi. He's an economics and maths graduate, with 27 years' experience in the food industry.

Little known fact: Kenco coffee, one of Kraft's big-hitting brands, gets its name from the Kenyan Coffee Company, set up in the first half of the 20th century by a co-operative of growers in the East African country.

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