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Drew Williams joined Labatt Breweries of Canada as an intern and now holds a permanent position as a scrum master.Supplied

When Drew Williams was nearing completion of her degree in commerce, she found she liked to do a lot of different things and she didn’t know where she would apply for work. “The description for the technology training program at Labatt Breweries of Canada mirrored words I had in my own resume,” says Williams, now scrum master. “I connected with that and as I went through the program I gained a breadth of knowledge across different functions.”

“Labatt invests in people who are right out of university,” says Beatriz Grubesic, vice-president, people. “Our trainees do rotations through different areas such as commercial, supply chain, operations and our corporate business units. The goal is to give them a broader vision of the organization and provide them with the tools to unleash their potential.”

In addition, Grubesic says, the company is working on a new sales platform that will transform how customers access Labatt products, and positions are opening up to solve business challenges through technology. “It’s not only technology companies that have jobs working in technology,” she says.

In Williams’ case, she started her technology trainee program in September, 2021 working on a project proposal for a staffing solution. She says she improved her project management skills, gained an understanding of different areas of the company and interacted with senior leaders. “Through an internship or new graduate talent program, you often get to work on high-priority projects,” she says.

After that, she did a rotation in accounting, improving processes for reporting taxes. She found it a huge change to work more independently, use her analytical skills and learn the enterprise software SAP.

Now, in her permanent position as scrum master, she collaborates with different stakeholder groups to write requirements on business needs and then joins the technical development team to develop, test and deliver solutions. “It’s about putting the puzzle pieces in place,” she says. “I love bringing our collective strengths together and understanding how everything fits to create shared value.”

In order to be successful in her position, Williams has taken on multiple development opportunities. In 2022, she travelled to the Anheuser-Busch InBev head office in St. Louis to spend a week with other technology trainees from across the U.S. “We completed a hackathon. We learned new tools and then we worked together to use them to solve a business problem,” Williams says.

Later Williams took three days of coding boot camp at the University of Toronto to learn the Python programing language. She worked with two employees from different departments to build a predictive model. “It’s a way of thinking at Labatt,” Williams says. “You are empowered to grow and develop, and learn the tools of the job as you go.”

Williams has noticed an increased focus on using technology to help Labatt find innovative and sustainable solutions so it can thrive and grow. “There is no shortage of opportunities and projects to work on,” she says.

And Grubesic says that as a result of giving university graduates who start as interns a deep understanding of the company, nearly half of the senior leadership team has come to Labatt through these programs. “And that includes me,” she says. “I was an intern, and after 17 years I am a vice-president.”

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