Iconic brand gives internship to UCB's Sophie


One of the UK’s most recognisable high street brands gave a place on its coveted new food internship programme to a high-flying UCB student.

Sophie Ecclestone fought off competition from candidates across the country to win a place on the Marks and Spencer scheme.

The iconic British brand has launched three food internships for first and second year undergraduates in order to connect with future food leaders as early as possible in their careers.

Sophie, who has just started the second year of a degree in Food Development and Innovation at UCB, was selected for a two-month food development internship after wowing judges with her concept for matcha and yuzu flavoured tea cakes.

Working for M&S was a dream-come-true for the 22-year-old, who hopes to get a place on the company’s graduate programme after completing her degree. No two days were the same and she found herself jetting around the country to meet suppliers, talking to journalists and bloggers at the launch of this year’s Christmas range and working with development chefs to create exciting new recipes for next summer’s range.

She said: “As an intern you are thrown in at the deep end so you learn to adapt to different situations. To begin with I think the adrenalin kept me going. By the middle of the placement I could feel I had grown into the role and gained a high level of trust from the team. I wasn’t being given work just to keep me busy, I was making a genuine contribution; doing tasks that staff were employed to do.”

The former Colchester Institute pupil, from Chelmsford in Essex, said her tips for a successful placement included being a good listener and displaying lots of enthusiasm. She added: “Many people are receptive to sharing their own experiences and telling you how they got their job. Listen and learn from them. Show how keen you are by offering to help out and take on extra work. For me the placement has been a pivotal point in my training; I’ve got hands-on experience and it’s put everything I’ve learned into context.”

UCB Lecturer Rachel Hilton said: “Sophie joined us in Food Development and Innovation having had culinary experience but knowing she wanted to change her career path for a food product development role, within food manufacturing. This was a fantastic internship for Sophie and shows what a high calibre student she is.”