Future Leaders Graduate Scheme – meet Sophie

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?

Firstly, the opportunity to learn about the different functions across a business in multiple geographical locations was very attractive.  I wanted to learn more about sustainable agriculture and food manufacturing.  This opportunity allows me to gain an insight into the food industry and its manufacturing processes, waste management, sourcing of ingredients and overall environmental stewardship.

What have been your highlights so far? 

So far, I have really enjoyed the business’ culture and working in such a fast-paced and dynamic environment.  I’ve been involved in some really interesting projects so far, such as creating a presentation exploring the price increases for some B2B Christmas launches.  At EPC where I’m currently on placement, the taste panels are always interesting – chilli chutney on a Monday morning is always a good way to start the week!

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

Be open minded.  The opportunity of relocation and working in different departments is a fantastic way to understand how a business operates.  As well as developing professionally, it allows you to learn what area of work you feel more suited within a business and can help to identify your strengths and weaknesses, helping you grow as a person and employee. 

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

  1. The food industry is very dynamic.
  2. Waste management is still an ongoing challenge – not just for TBG but everywhere.
  3. Great business culture.

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

  1. Where EPC source their ingredients and how is that affected by Brexit and COP26?
  2. How the company works financially and learn more about budgeting and the company’s future investments/projects.
  3. How can I get involved with future sustainable projects within The Group?

What is your dream role long term? 

I’m still deciding… maybe a Business Developer, Food Ethics Assessor or a Food Lawyer.

What’s the best part of your job? 

There is equal representation here at EPC- it’s very empowering working with lots of women.  I’m learning lots of transferable skills and understanding how dynamic the food industry is.

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

While demand for food is constant, there are challenges to navigate due to climate change.  Consequently, we need to think of methods to sustain food sources, whilst implementing processes that are viable, sustainable, and not dependent on finite fuels which become obsolete. It is also a very creative industry!

Can you describe the Billington Group in three words? 

  1. People-orientated
  2. Creative
  3. Dynamic 

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

I grew up on the East coast of Scotland where I played lots of Lacrosse and sailed in the summer.  I then went to University in Southampton where I studied International Business Management with Spanish.  This enabled me to live and work in Barcelona for a year, where I worked for a start-up in sustainable agriculture and social impact assessment.  This was what sparked my interest in agricultural development and sustainability. 

Then during the pandemic after my undergraduate degree, I studied an MSc in Justice, Development and Sustainability at Royal Holloway, University of London.  I like to exercise by playing tennis, hiking, and skiing, and love going to see live music. When I’m home I love to cook and go for walks with my dogs on the beach!

Coffee or tea? 

Coffee 

Fun fact about you: 

I lived in Barcelona in Spain for a year and right next to La Sagrada Familia!

Favourite meal? 

Linguini pasta with chopped anchovies mixed into a paste with chilli flakes, kale, and lots of extra virgin olive oil!

Favourite weird food combination? 

Marmite on a buttery crumpet.