One of the main attractions for me when applying to DLA Piper was the opportunity to work with global clients and household names. Having worked on various Heineken matters over the course of my first two seats, I was extremely keen to apply for the chance to spend six months at Heineken UK.
My time at Heineken has been the highlight of my graduate programme and the turning point in my learning and development as a trainee. In house life is not simply a break from time recording and an opportunity to approach work from a client's perspective: I became fully immersed in the business as soon as I joined.
I arrived at HUK at a time of challenge and excitement: 2018 brought the beast from the east, the world cup, and a carbon dioxide shortage, all of which directly impacted the business's supply and demand constraints. This changed my understanding of the commercial drivers behind Heineken's strategy and business model.
The two most valuable aspects of my secondment were the variety of tasks and the level of autonomy I had. The team works on everything: Licensing, marketing, branding and IP; compliance and general advice; outsourcing and technology; supply chain; procurement; and the pubs portfolio through the corporate arm of the team. One day I was involved with the packaging and branding of the Desperado's Christmas launch; the next I was in London on my own, meeting with a member of the digital marketing team to discuss a new supplier offering.
I have a real interest in all things data, and was unsure whether I would be able to continue to develop this while on secondment at this global drinks manufacturer. As soon as I indicated to the team that I was interested in data protection, they immediately got me involved with the full UK GDPR compliance programme. This element of my secondment enabled me to work regularly with all departments within the business such as HR, business systems and marketing, which was invaluable. Understanding how a business functions like this is something I would never have fully appreciated had I not applied for client secondment.
I would encourage everyone to apply for secondment opportunities. Going on client secondment to such a progressive, innovative business has changed my perception of working with global companies. The team genuinely cared about my progression as a trainee, getting me involved in all aspects of their work. The beer was an added bonus.