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Friday 22 June, 2018


We Are CCEP: Germany

To mark International Women in Engineering Day, and as part of our We Are CCEP series, we travelled to our manufacturing plant in Hildesheim, Germany to meet Carola who is one of our microbiologists.

International Women in Engineering Day aims to raise the profile of women in engineering, and awareness of the amazing career opportunities available to women in this exciting industry. At Coca-Cola European Partners, we have a diverse range of people, cultures and job roles - including in science and engineering based professions.

Employees that have technical roles at CCEP play a vital part in our business, from developing our drinks to operating machinery and equipment at one of our 47 manufacturing sites across Western Europe. Microbiologists at CCEP help to ensure that the quality of our products and environmental standards that we expect are reached at every stage of the production process.

Carola has worked at Coca-Cola for more than 25 years, and her role involves testing and analysing samples from the production lines. Here’s what she had to say about her life as a microbiologist:

 

 1.     What's your role at Coca-Cola European Partners?

Laboratory Technician for microbiological quality at our Hildesheim factory in Germany.

 

 2.     What does your job involve?

I ensure the quality of our products and assess microbiological standards through continuous checks during the production process.

I test and analyse the hygiene of the facilities and inspect ingredients, raw materials as well as individual production steps.

In addition, detecting and avoiding possible risks to health and safety is also part of my role.

3.     What does a typical day look like?

I start my day by reviewing the current production and any particular issues arising from the night shifts. 

Preparing the samples is the next step before any microbiological testing can take place.

The samples are processed by using membrane filtration or the pour plate method. Cultures are prepared and incubated according to specifications.

I assess the samples in the lab, and the microscopy and differentiation of bacteria as part of the microbiological work for quality assurance.

Visual checks of the bottling lines and documentation of samples is also part of my daily routine.

 

4.     Why did you want to become a microbiologist?

To be a microbiologist you need to be resilient and have strong organisational skills, as well as a good understanding of the natural sciences. You should also possess a tendency for order, cleanliness and impeccable hygiene conditions – this is my idea of a dream role!

 

5.     How did you become a microbiologist?

I initially wanted to study nutritional science after finishing secondary school. However, I decided to train in this field instead. I realised very quickly that it suited my strengths and found the work to be highly rewarding – so I accepted the challenge.

 

6.     Have you noticed any changes in the profession since you started / qualified? 

It was predominantly women that worked in the laboratory sector at the time of my training in 1983. This has changed over the years, as we now have increasingly more male colleagues studying for this profession and working in this field.

This year I am also gaining experience by taking on the role as 'Head of Quality Assurance' in Hildesheim for the first time.

 

7.     What's the best part of your job? 

I like the mix of laboratory analysis and working with colleagues at the production facilities. Working in a team is very important in my area as it often involves numerous steps, which must be carried out and completed at the same time.

My job is wide-ranging and versatile. It requires precision and accuracy, independence and, above all, diligent and structured work.

 

8.     What has been your favourite moment during your time at CCEP? 

My favourite moment was when we took our first steps into the new factory at Hildesheim in 1994, being there at the beginning as this plant started to find its feet, and as the departments began to work with each other.

The production site has since grown and changed due to new production lines. After nearly 25 years, our site in Hildesheim is getting a new quality assurance laboratory – another special moment for me.

 

9.     What do you like doing outside work?

I like outdoor activities that I can do with friends - walking, hiking, inline skating, cycling and open air events, as well as city breaks to go sightseeing.

 

10.  As it is International Woman in Engineering Day, what would be your advice to young women seeking a career in microbiology? 

Microbiology is the science and study of micro-organisms - living things that cannot be detected by the naked eye. It is divided into many specific sectors; it is therefore very extensive in scope and very intriguing for anyone who is interested in analytics, research and development projects. The field of activity is broad and has many subject areas – where medical microbiology is just as exciting as food or agricultural microbiology, research or quality assurance. It is a great profession to be in.

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