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  • Role: Process Engineer
  • Degree: Engineering

Paul Edgerley

Paul Edgerley ensures that the production line at Procter & Gamble runs efficiently and effectively. We discover that keeping an eye on the perfume, pet food and Pringles is no easy task…

What do Procter & Gamble do?

Procter & Gamble is a multinational fast-moving consumer goods company. We own and manufacture an extensive product portfolio, including some of the best-known household brands such as Ariel, Duracell, Gillette and Pringles.

Did you always want to work for a manufacturer?

My passion in life is problem solving, and from a very young age I have taken an interest in how things around me work – this is why I chose to study engineering.

During my studies I developed an interest in resource management, information technology and the understanding of manufacturing processes. I am particularly interested in new technology and how it can be integrated into improving work processes, so it was a natural progression for me to move into the manufacturing industry.

What was the interview process like?

I applied to P&G’s Manufacturing Career Academy, having been impressed by the company’s presentation at my university.

There were a number of stages involved in the application process – an online assessment, verbal and numerical reasoning tests, and a face to face interview. Then I was invited to the Manufacturing Career Academy event in Newcastle – a three-day course that allowed me to find out what it’s like to work for such a prestigious organisation.

The Academy was really good fun – it was a great opportunity to get an in-depth understanding about what goes on in the production plant, as well as offering an opportunity to grill current employees about their own experiences.

What’s the best way to prepare for an interview?

I was told that lots of practise is the key. Perhaps it’s not the most encouraging piece of advice, but it’s true that the more interviews you do, the better and more confident you become.

I got my friends and family to run through possible questions that employers may ask, which really helped me organise my thoughts on the day. Doing research into the values and principles of the organisation helps establish if you are compatible with the company, and also gives a good idea of what qualities they are looking for.

What does your role involve?

As a process engineer I am responsible for improving the reliability and efficiency of the production line whilst always maintaining the highest standards of safety and quality. My role involves optimising the production of fine fragrances, making products for fashion houses like Hugo Boss, Valentino, and Lacoste.

Tell us about a typical day for you.

Generally it’s an early start, as the production plant is always busy and I like to get on top of what has happened over the last 24 hours.

After meeting with colleagues to discuss the priorities for the day, I spend the rest of the morning out on the production floor. I work with the line teams to address any problems they might be having with the machinery, and we work together to find a solution.

In the afternoon I finally get to sit down! I discuss the plan for the following day with my colleagues and then the rest of the day is spent preparing for the next line of products or researching ways to improve the reliability of the production.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I’m not deskbound all day. P&G offers a really exciting and dynamic working environment; I’m always kept on my toes.

Do you have a mentor or someone you go to for advice?

Everyone in the workplace is really approachable, so there is always someone to go to if you need help. I have regular one on one sessions with my manager. These help me to identify those areas where I need support but also encourage me to build upon my strengths and achievements within the organisation.

What challenges you the most?

The environment I work in is very dynamic, the production process needs to react quickly to any change in customer orders and so your plans and priorities can change very quickly. This makes it difficult to predict what you’re likely to be doing from one day to the next, but it also keeps the job exciting because it’s always so varied.

Is there much chance to travel?

There are certainly opportunities to travel, and I have visited other P&G sites in the UK for training courses. I have also visited one of our suppliers in France to help improve their systems, so that we can better control the quality of our own products. P&G has sites all over Europe and the rest of the world and opportunities to travel for training are not uncommon.

Do you get to socialise with other grads?

Yes, I work with some really great people. I go on regular team-building events with my colleagues, which are always good fun. Most recently I organised an outdoor assault course challenge for my team, followed by some much needed pizza and drinks in the evening.

What’s the biggest myth about your industry?

Probably that manufacturing is dry and that all engineers are boring. In fact, my job demands a high level of creativity and innovative thinking – I always have a machine to improve, a component to source or production team member to train and develop. Manufacturers can be really imaginative when it comes to solving problems, believe me!

Where do you see yourself in the future?

Still trying to find the best solution to a problem – there is always a better way to make something work and run smoothly. I hope that I am given the opportunity to continue this pursuit with P&G, and look forward to taking on bigger projects as I further my career.

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