Success Stories

Graduate secures fantastic finance placement

Melissa, who is 10 months into her graduate placement with Robertson’s Fine Foods, tells us about her varied role as a Graduate Cost Accountant.

Published: 14/12/2016

Melissa Freeman, 23, from Hurlford, Kilmarnock, graduated with a 2:1 BA (Hons) in Accountancy from Glasgow Caledonian University. Having worked since the age of fourteen; mostly in the food industry and hospitality sector, Melissa was delighted to secure the role of Graduate Cost Accountant with Robertson’s Fine Foods in February, 2016.

Robertson’s Fine Foods was set up in Irvine to help expand the existing business John Robertson & Sons in Ardrossan, who are one of the largest producers of Scottish pig meat products.

Melissa said, “When I started applying for jobs, I was worried that I would struggle to get a job as an accountant as I had no previous office experience. I also found the large corporate firms quite intimidating and did not feel that it would be the right fit for me. Robertson’s Fine Foods appealed to me because it was a family owned business in the food industry. I feel very lucky to have got a job here. My colleagues are all so helpful and I have learned so much in such a short space of time.”

Melissa told us she had expected to put the theory of what she had learned at university into practice, but has learned so much more: “I have learned something I never thought I would when studying accountancy - and that is pig meat manufacturing. I’ve had to learn about the different cuts of meat, how it is produced, packaged and the value of these products. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be working in a place like this when I graduated as an accountant but I absolutely love it!”

One of the key projects Melissa has been involved in has been setting up a costing system: “Costing products is important as the price fluctuates from week to week and the sales price needs to reflect the market. I built a costing database from scratch which has taken months of work, but now the costs are easy to determine and easily updated for adjustments to the pig price.”

When asked what Melissa had gained from her role, she said, “The fact that it’s a smaller organisation means I am getting an all-round learning experience in the accounts department; from costing accounting, to payroll, to preparing month end accounts.

I have a lot of freedom and independence in my role. I would not get this kind of valuable experience working for a large corporate organisation. It is a great way to gain experience in the industry field you want to work in.”

Melissa offered advice to prospective ScotGrad Associates. She said, “Don’t give up! It took me 7 months after graduating to get this graduate placement. It felt like forever at the time but it was worth the wait. I have gained experience and confidence in the profession, as well as a career! Without ScotGrad, I would not have been so lucky to get this job.

My previous jobs were not related to accounting, but the skills I developed in those jobs showed that I was hard working, able to work to deadlines and a good communicator which made me an employable and suitable candidate. Be confident, and use any work experience and skills you have to show that you are the best candidate.”

We’re delighted Melissa has now been offered a permanent position with Robertson’s Fine Foods once her placement ends. Well done Melissa!


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