Celine Chang - Manager Global Support Poultry
Celine Change (33) has always had wide interests. As a student at Wageningen University, she chose to specialise in nutrition and adaptation physiology. Knowing about an animal's physiology is one thing, but how can you influence physiological and other environmental aspects through nutrition? Celine wanted to know more. When she was in Australia for a study project in 2012, she found some information about the traineeship at De Heus. She was immediately intrigued. Next November, it will be 9 years since Celine joined De Heus, where she is currently Manager Global Support Poultry.
Celine was one of the first group of trainees. ‘At the time, De Heus was still exploring how to structure its trainee programme. So, in consultation with De Heus, over a period of two years, I spent six months working in different departments. This taught me a lot about the sector and the organisation. To be honest, when you graduate from university, the work field is all rather unfamiliar. At De Heus, the traineeship aims to help you discover where your own affinity lies and what you are good at,’ says Celine.
A new project every six months
When Celine started her traineeship alongside two other trainees, it soon became clear that she was drawn to poultry. She had already acquired some affinity and experience with poultry during her studies. ‘During the first six months, I designed and performed tests for the broilers and ducks. I then spent six months in the formulation department learning about the operational formulation for the plants in Poland. What is the situation in the local plants? How do they purchase the raw materials? How is the Polish market structured and how can we translate that into a cost-effective feed formulation? I then started work in the Dutch layer hen sector, with a bit of Koudijs export. During that period, I was really focused on getting to know different markets, but also learning about the role of product manager.’ For her last project, Celine spent six months in the Czech Republic for her international assignment. Here she replaced the product manager who was on maternity leave. During her project, she lived in the Czech Republic. ‘That helped me understand the market. You visit the customer and experience how things work in the plant.’
Converting ideas into opportunities
‘Starting my career with a traineeship gave me lots of insights. About myself, but also about the organisation and the various markets. De Heus is always supportive and helpful when it comes to your personal development. If you want to take on certain projects, they always listen to you. That creates lots of opportunities, but you must take them yourself. In an organisation like De Heus, you need to be enterprising and assertive, and make sure that your ideas are heard. Just having ideas isn't enough. You must also convert these into a solution that is relevant to the various markets we operate in. It's building that bridge between the technical aspects and the commercial strategies in the countries we work in that I find so energising.’
Contributing to a more sustainable poultry sector
After her traineeship, Celine became Formulator and Product Manager for Central Europe. ‘Here I got to understand the European market better. I was also able to develop my nutritional knowledge. For me, that is a real bonus during a traineeship. Besides developing yourself and learning about the markets, you also lay a basis for your technical and nutritional knowledge. Even after my traineeship, I continue to learn and develop every day. Because De Heus is always launching different activities worldwide at such a pace, different aspects of the poultry sector constantly emerge, which I can then learn from. Working in a big international team keeps Celine critical. ‘Why do we do things in a certain way? What can we learn from each other? In everything we do, you can see a huge drive in the organisation, and that together we want to contribute to a sustainable livestock sector.’