Young talent, good business 

Cargill employee Sam Gilmour began as commercial team apprentice 

By Corinne Holtshausen April 19, 2016

Meet Sam Gilmour, who started his career at Cargill’s starches and sweeteners plant in Manchester, UK. Sam is one of the 27 young people that have embarked on apprenticeship schemes in this business over the past five years.

Through The Apprentice Academy, Sam was offered the opportunity to take part in a one year apprenticeship working in Cargill’s commercial sales team, starting straight after leaving school in 2013. 

For Sam, one of the important factors in choosing Cargill was the opportunities that working for a multinational would afford him in the future. His training involved a year of learning about the work environment, as well as careful integration into the work place, taking more responsibility as the year went on. 

After successfully completing his training, Sam has since worked in the business’s supply chain department, and he has recently been transferred to the company’s commercial hub in Mechelen, Belgium, where he is now an account manager in the starches and sweetener’s commercial sales team. 

What’s different about Sam’s apprenticeship is that his training was within a commercial office-based team, whereas it is more common for apprenticeships to be offered in the mechanical engineering and manufacturing environments. In the commercial environment, it is more common to find graduates entering the company. 

Paul Kingston, general manager at the Manchester plant is passionate about the apprenticeship programmes that the company supports. “We’ve got so much experience in a great manufacturing environment and we have a long heritage of investing in young people who start their careers here,” he said. “These youngsters are getting the benefit of the years of knowledge and the knowledge transfer is seamless, keeping our plant at the top of its game and best in class. We’re proud of the fact that we’ve retained most of the young people who’ve completed schemes. Several of them have gone on to obtain engineering degrees, financial and other professional qualifications.”

Paul explains that the benefits work both ways and the youngsters keep the established workforce energized: “We get a new lease of life from these young people as we closely mentor and work with them. They keep us on our toes!”

Sam found that the welcoming atmosphere at the Manchester plant made it easy for him to integrate into the team, despite the fact that he was quite a few years younger than the youngest person working there. “Everyone made a big attempt to welcome me and make me feel part of the team straight away, even though I was the youngest.” 

Find more information about careers at Cargill.