When ICMS Bachelor of Business student Thomas Bramley began his industry training at Langdon Ingredients earlier this year, he could never have predicted how the global Covid-19 pandemic would affect his placement.
However, Bramley reckons he learned just as much, if not more, during the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) component of his degree. WIL is a core feature of all degrees offered at ICMS, a career-focused higher education institute located in Northern Beaches and the city of Sydney, NSW.
In his own words, this is his story of how being flexible and embracing unpredictable changes in the workplace added to the valuable professional experience he has gained.
“My name is Thomas Bramley, I am 20 years old and I am from Wellington, New Zealand.
I was initially interested in pursuing a tertiary education that was focused more on just graduating with a degree. I didn’t want to just be another number. ICMS was the best option available with the guaranteed industry placement as part of the degree, and still being able to complete in three years.
I began studying a Bachelor of Business at ICMS at the beginning of 2019 and was grateful to receive the Wellington College Courtney O’Connor Scholarship.
Through the ICMS Industry Training program – and their connection to Chris Langdon, who has a previous involvement with the board at ICMS – I managed to secure an industry placement with Langdon Ingredients based in Melbourne, Victoria.
Langdon Ingredients was founded in 1852 by Henry Joseph Langdon and it is still privately held in the family with the current CEO, Chris Langdon. They operate in the food supply chain industry sourcing quality ingredients from all over the world and with head offices in London, Singapore, Auckland, South Africa and Bangkok to name a few. They also offer product formulation and development along with other services such as risk mitigation strategies for
externals factors such as currency fluctuation, whilst ensuring long term certainty around supply. Subsidiaries of Langdon Ingredients include; The Natural Foods Trading Company, Bakery Craft and Langdon Coffee Merchants.
My professional placement at Langdon’s was a modified version of their graduate program where I was set to be moving around eight different departments including: Customer Service, Planning, Manufacturing, Warehousing, Quality Assurance, Procurement, Product Development and Sales for varying lengths of time, ranging between 1-5 weeks.
I began my placement on 16 March 2020, just as Covid-19 travel restrictions were announced by the Australian government and the world was bracing for the unknown. I had been working in the Customer Service department for two weeks, before lockdown forced everyone to work from home.
I had my program restructured and moved into the Manufacturing and Warehousing teams who continued to come into work as they were considered essential services that could not work from home. My role varied day-to-day but largely consisted of assisting in many different departments within the manufacturing team from, creating bases, to mixing 1-tonne bulk bags to operating sachet lines or other large-scale blending equipment. Our shifts began at 4am and concluded at midday, five days a week.
Some of the key learnings I took out of my placement with Langdon Ingredients is the sheer scale of economy that the likes of supermarkets operate on, and just how much I have taken that concept and hard work for granted most of my life having grown up not thinking about it.
This year, along with my placement, has taught me to be flexible and resilient. In a time of such drastic change, where no amount of planning or forecasting could have allowed operations of any type to continue as normal, it has forced companies – and people – to adapt. Langdon’s faced issues with supply chain and stricter border restrictions slowing the process down between countries, which obviously isn’t ideal when dealing in perishable goods such as food. On the customer end with, hospitality and smaller food venues, such as cafes and bakeries, being closed or operating at a heavily reduced rate, the demand for products impacts on other areas of the business too. It was fascinating to see first-hand how a business which has been around for more than 165 years adapts to the world around them.
With restrictions continuing here in Victoria during the ‘second wave’, I have been unable to complete the full graduate program, but hope to return for the full program upon completing my degree. I have, however, managed to find myself another role through a connection at my rugby club and I plan to stay in Melbourne until my on-campus studies recommence in February.
During my ‘pandemic placement’, I have had time to think and, especially through the WIL assessments, had the ability to actively reflect on what is important to me. I feel I have learnt so many valuable lessons and grown immensely both professionally and personally. Through this time of learning I have changed my major area of study from marketing to accounting. I have also been able to continue studying online and am on track to graduate at the end of 2021.
I decided to come to ICMS because of their network of industry partners and the opportunity to ‘get my foot in the door’ of a corporate environment so that upon graduating, I had more than just a piece of paper. I wanted to have the basic skills, experience network to build into my first step for my career; to have experienced the real world before graduating with a degree. I feel that I have been incredibly fortunate for the opportunity I have had with Langdon Ingredients and whilst it evolved in a way I couldn’t have anticipated, I have picked up plenty of valuable knowledge and skills that will set me in good stead for the future as a person and in pursuit of a successful career.’
For more information on the ICMS Industry Training program, click here:
For more information on the ICMS Bachelor of Business, click here:
For more information on Langdon Ingredients, click here:
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