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First students graduate from unique 'earn while they learn' partnership between Nestlé and Sheffield Hallam

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The first cohort of students to take part in a unique 'earn while they learn' programme run by Nestlé and Sheffield Hallam University have graduated.

The group of ten students were part of the Nestlé Academy Fast Start Programme, which places them in a paid training role while they study for their degree.

The programme, which is the first of its kind in the food industry, was set up in 2013 and gives students commercial experience while they study for a degree in Professional Business Practice at Sheffield Hallam's Business School.

They graduated on 15th November at a ceremony at Sheffield City Hall, with four of the students achieving a first class degree.

During their three-year course the students undertook a range of roles at the company including sales, marketing, HR and supply chain functions working on real-life projects.

Lauren was among the first cohort of students to take part in Nestlé's Fast Start Programme – a  unique 'earn while you learn' programme run in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University.

The three-year programme offers students the chance to combine a business and management degree at Sheffield Hallam University, with practical experience at Nestlé across four commercial functions; Sales, Marketing, HR and Supply Chain.

They now all have permanent jobs with Nestlé in roles including Assistant Brand Manager and Customer Demand Planner.

One of the graduates, James Alasdair, is now Order Capture Team Lead and manages a team of eight people. 

James, 23, from York, started a traditional degree but left to take up a place on the Fast Start programme.

He said: "It's been a challenging three years to be working while doing a degree but it's nice to have a ceremony like this to take time to look back at what you have achieved.

I applied for the Fast Start programme as I wanted to work for a company like Nestlé but it was also important to me to get a degree.

I got the best of both worlds and got to work in a number of different areas of the business and work out where I wanted to be."

Professor Kevin Kerrigan Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Sheffield Business School, said:

“I would like to congratulate the students who have graduated from the Fast Start programme and wish them well in their new roles at Nestlé.

The students have benefited hugely from being able to apply the theory they learned at University directly into the workplace to solve real-life business issues and they are reaping the rewards now as they start careers with a major global company.

At Sheffield Hallam University we are committed to working closely with industry to produce work-ready graduates, and we offer a range of innovative flexible learning routes so that our students can learn in a way that best suits their needs."

Dame Fiona Kendrick, Chairman and CEO, Nestlé UK and Ireland attended the graduation ceremony. Dame Fiona said:

“Nurturing young talent is at the heart of what we do at Nestlé.

Our bespoke Fast Start programme, built in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University, forms a key part of our commitment to growing and developing future business leaders.

The programme offers a combination of practical and commercial experience at Nestlé as well as the opportunity to study at Sheffield Hallam, giving them the skills that they need to become the successful business leaders of the future. This year signifies an important milestone with our first cohort graduating from the programme.

My congratulations go to all the talented young people who have graduated from the programme and I wish them further success in their new roles at Nestlé”


For more information, please contact Nestlé Press Office on 020 8667 6005 [email protected]


Notes to Editors:

Lauren Davies and Tom Davies were among the first cohort of students to take part in Nestlé's Fast Start Programme – a  unique 'earn while you learn' programme run in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University.

Both work from Nestlé’s UK head office in Gatwick.

Watch the videos from Lauren Davies and Tom Davies to hear more about their experiences as Fast Starters.