As it attempts to navigate industry-wide skills shortages, Carlton & United Breweries has invested heavily in its trainee programmes this year.
The business has launched a raft of supply and graduate management traineeships, along with summer internships and the newly-introduced analytics and technology traineeships.
Madelyn Ring, CUB’s Vice President of People told Brews News that the traineeships were an important part of developing CUB’s in-house talent and leadership.
“We’re always looking for talent, so part of it is attracting the right talent in the first place and then secondly developing those people into leaders of the future,” Ring said.
“They’re hard to find even if you go external for roles, so our intention is to develop our leaders internally.”
She said that getting a birds-eye view of the business was a key component to all the traineeships, particularly in the graduate management scheme which was launched three years ago.
“[We want] versatile people who can move across roles. You want them to be able to move from sales into marketing, into supply or logistics, into packaging, with the intention that they will become better leaders if they have all that experience.”
The proof is in the pudding when it comes to the traineeships. Ring said that in 2018 there were 4,668 applicants to the traineeship programmes, and in 2019 this rose to 5,687.
CUB placed in 30th place in GradConnection’s Top 100 employers for 2019 and has placed in the top five for retail and FMCG categories for the last two years, said Ring.
“Not everyone will continue with CUB, because some people will drop out along the way, but we haven’t had a lot of turnover in that space so they’re obviously loving their experience,” she said.
Analytics and data
“Data is critical to the future. Something we’re definitely focusing on in our three-year plan is data analytics and how we understand our customers better so we can better [cater to] their needs.
“The last couple of years we’ve created an analytics team in our strategy function, and we’ve also created CUBHOUSE, a function in marketing which does things like social listening, gathering data on consumers.”
These tactics are being used the world over and the analytics traineeships are a part of the development of this strategy, said Ring.
“They are brand new this year, this is our first recruitment drive for them and they will start in role next year.
“We’ve been developing that capability internally anyway, because we need to understand our consumers and customers better, to be able to innovate in terms of product, market and route to market, all those aspects.
“That’s why we’ve started those programmes.”
“What we like about the graduate management programme is that, number one, it helps young Australians get jobs and number two is that future leadership aspect,” Ring explained.
She said that across the board for all traineeships, the recruitment team look for “leaders, innovators and dreamers”.
“Being a leader is about wanting to be in leadership roles in the future and showing the potential for leadership, and dreamers which is about setting big goals and achieving those goals.”
But identifying these qualities is easier said than done.
“There’s a process we go through. Part of it is an interview, where you ask people what their biggest goal was and how they achieved that,” Ring explained.
“It might not be about their work as they may not have done that much, but it will be about their passions. One of our GMTs supported a company in Nepal which made books and sold the books, helping Nepalese women become educated and understand economics so they could make money themselves.
“It’s those sort of things we look for where people are dreaming beyond their work or studies.”
Key areas for development across the brewing industry as a whole are diversity and inclusion, and it’s the same at CUB.
Ring has set high standards for CUB in regards to female representation, although she admitted that there was still work to be done on that front.
“We’re not happy [with diversity at CUB], but we’re working on it.
“The areas that are difficult are in manufacturing and in sales. Those are the two areas we need to focus on.”
But, she said, the traineeships were a way to help contribute to a bigger uptake of CUB roles by women.
“Certainly the graduate programmes are helping, we do try and get the right mix, it’s probably close to 50/50 [in those programmes].”
CUB has had some notable successes, with a number of their trainees being awarded scholarships from Pink Boots, such as Katey McNulty, a sensory specialist who won this year.
Ring explained that including women and minorities and pushing for inclusion where possible was not just paying lip service to diversity.
“In total in our business it’s 23 per cent female. Our senior females (middle management and above) we’ve improved in the last two years from 23 per cent to over 30 per cent, so we’re really focusing on trying to get the right role models in the business so that then females externally want to come in, because they see females at the top.
“But also it changes the culture of a business. The point of diversity is the innovation that comes from that diversity, so the thinking is that the more females you have, the more inclusive we are, the more ideas we get and the more innovative we become.
“We’ve still got a long way to go but we’re working on it.”