Future Leaders Graduate Scheme – Meet Richard

The Billington Group would not be where it is without its amazing teams. In this ‘Our People’ series, we’ll be sharing a bit more about the diverse roles across our businesses and providing some insight into what makes Billington employees tick!

What attracted you to the Future Leaders role?

While at university I started to apply for graduate schemes, looking to gain experience in different areas of business and move somewhere I’d not lived before. Having led small teams before, I wanted to further develop this skill, and felt my degree and past work experience aligned well with the job requirements at The Billington Group Future Leaders Graduate Scheme.

When I read the job description for this role it just seemed to fit everything I was looking for, then as I progressed through the recruitment stages and learned more about the company, I became even more attracted to the role and knew that it was the right one for me.

What have been your highlights so far? 

It’s been a real pleasure meeting so many people from across the Group and the companies within it. Seeing how a business works from various sides and the cooperation needed for success has been incredibly insightful. Vastly improving my computer skills and learning a new system has been rewarding, and something that’ll continue to serve me throughout my journey here with the Group.  

What advice would you give to others looking for a role in the industry or on a graduate scheme? 

I encourage those at university to pursue a graduate scheme, it’s a brilliant way to get into an industry you’re interested in. They’re competitive and the applications are often long and thorough, but I’d definitely say it’s worth it.

I feel that being on a scheme offers more varied opportunities and exposure to different aspects of the industry, compared to a regular graduate job. This can be particularly useful if you are unsure of which sector you’d like to work in, as you can try different areas throughout the programme and find where you’re happiest and most effective. 

What are three things you’ve learnt during your time with The Group so far? 

As I’m not from a farming background, I have learned lots about agriculture and animal feed since working at Carr’s Billington. My Microsoft Office skills have also greatly increased over the past few months, I’ve learned little tips and tricks to make my work more efficient.

Time management is another thing I’ve continued to improve during my time here. Having built upon my knowledge of how to best balance my degree modules at university, I am able to structure my day around various tasks and meetings, while prioritising my workload so everything is complete on time and to a high standard. 

What three things do you want to learn more about or explore? 

I am looking forward to doing some work with the finance department to get an understanding of my current company from that angle. I’m also keen to visit the various production facilities to see first-hand how our products are made, and to spend more time with my fellow graduates on the scheme, sharing our experiences across the businesses with each other. 

What is your dream role long term? 

The role itself I’m still unsure of, but it’s something this scheme is helping me discover. The dream is to be in a position where I love the work, feel connected to the role and the company, and can be a highly useful addition to my team and the business. 

What’s the best part of your job? 

At the moment, my favourite part of my job is how varied it is. I have been exposed to different areas of Carr’s Billington and interacted with people from across the business. This has given me a rounded understanding of how the company operates and how the departments connect and support each other. I also feel I am making a real difference and am an asset to my team, which makes the role very fulfilling. 

What makes the food/agriculture sector exciting to work in? 

It’s a highly responsive industry to be in. Part of my job is tracking raw material markets as they’re an integral ingredient of our feed. It’s exciting to see how global affairs affects these prices and the subsequent impact of their volatility upon different parts of the supply chain. It demonstrates how global this industry really is. 

Can you describe the Billington Group in three words? 

Dynamic, Progressive, Connected.  

Now, tell us a bit more about you: e.g. where you’re from, your journey up to now, hobbies etc.

I was born in Formby, outside Liverpool. After leaving school I went up to university in Aberdeen to study Economics. Following graduation, I worked briefly in sales before being accepted onto the Billington Group Future Leaders scheme.

My hobbies are mostly outdoor based sports, so I do a lot of climbing, hiking, and skiing whenever I get the chance. It’s been great working in Lancaster, as I’m so close to the Lake District which is excellent climbing and walking! 

Coffee or tea? 

Definitely coffee. Black coffee if I’m in the office and a flat white if I go to a coffee shop. 

Fun fact about you: 

I spent three months travelling around India before starting university. 

Favourite meal? 

It’s probably pizza. Simple but oh so good. Some of the best I’ve ever had is from a street vendor in Venice for about two euros. 

Favourite weird food combination? 

As a child I used to mix mushy peas and tomato ketchup together. I’m not particularly keen on either these days, and this is probably the reason why.