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Student’s opportunities bloom with Waitrose

16 January 2015

Rachel Atkinson

When University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) student Zain Shaikh went on work experience at a leading supermarket chain, he got more than he bargained for.

Zain Shaikh’s placement sees him develop three products for the supermarket giant 

When University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) student Zain Shaikh went on work experience at a leading supermarket chain, he got more than he bargained for.

For the scholar undertook a work placement as a product developer for Waitrose, and now has three products on the shelves. The 21-year-old marketing management student spent 12 months in the company’s head office, spending six months as an assistant to the product developers, and the remaining six months as a personal assistant to the head of brand. However, the Preston student was eager to get the best out of his placement and convinced his managers to allow him to work as a product developer. Zain said: “I asked lots of questions and was given the opportunity to work as a product developer for the first six months. For the second part of my placement I was unsure about working as a personal assistant for the whole time, so I asked if I could continue with my product developer role alongside it and they agreed. It was hard work, but I learnt a lot.”

"In the graduate jobs market it’s essential to have work-ready skills to differentiate yourself."

His role involved carrying out trend analysis in a range of non-food product development areas, which eventually saw him creating and developing a range of shaving products under the Essential Waitrose brand and three shaving lines are being launched in stores.

Alison Lucas, Division Leader in UCLan’s Lancashire Business School, said: “In the graduate jobs market it’s essential to have work-ready skills to differentiate yourself. A work placement gives students a significant competitive advantage and Zain’s experiences will be invaluable to him, not only once he graduates but for the remainder of his course here at UCLan.”