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GROWing as a Graduate 2022: Presenting Julia Canfailla

Getting started on one's career is definitely a significant life milestone. But how does one pick out which career path makes the best use of the talents, skills and interests already in place whilst ensuring optimal opportunities for development and progress along the way? Well, there is no magic formula, but here at BASF, we believe that providing the right environment to explore different career options within BASF's myriad business units and functions is the best way to help our GROW Graduates....blossom!

Julia Canfailla joined BASF Australia this February after having completed her Bachelor's in Chemical Engineering from RMIT. Currently sitting with BASF's Coatings Division, she first found out about BASF's GROW Graduate program - an 18-months specially tailored program where graduates go through systematic and guided work assignments, job rotations in related areas as well as a variety of off-job training - through her university career website.

Her quest to find an opportunity allowed her to utilise her formal training, whilst learning new skills and gaining perspectives in to different industries was well aligned to the program, and Julia was thrilled when she landed the role.  

Julia shares a little bit more about her background, "This really is my first proper exposure to a professional work setting for me. Before this, I had some experience in hospitality and retail, so I really wasn't sure what to expect at first. "

In her current rotation, Julia supports the customer service function within Coatings Division - which develops, produces and markets a high-quality range of innovative and sustainable automotive Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and refinish coatings, decorative paints and surface-applied treatments for metal, plastic and glass substrates for a wide range of industries.

Her work revolves around Systems Applications and Products (SAP) systems to track customer orders, manage customer emails for bulk orders and follow up on customer enquiries. She mentions that one of the initial challenges was operating the SAP system, but she's also observed that once she got the hang of it, she's able to appreciate how it makes work much more efficient and seamless, from avoiding double orders, detecting and addressing issues before running reports or sending in orders and keeping track of inventories.

She also shares some of her initial observations, saying "One thing that really surprised me is how diverse BASF operations here; they have such a range of different customers from a wide spectrum of industries. Even within Coatings, the division has so many team members based across different states, handling requests from manufacturers and independent body shops alike. Next up, the assignment that she's currently most looking forward to will see her interacting with the extended team: "I'm really excited because I'll be interviewing Coatings technicians from around the country to understand their daily workloads, the challenges they face and how it will help to find ways to improve their working processes."

After three months spent on the first rotation, she is grateful for all the support that she's received saying, " I must say that the team has been fantastic, always happy to help, attend to any of my queries quickly, and even schedule some of their own time to ensure I get the help I need. I also received a lot of support especially during the induction program. HR would pair us new GROW Graduates with previous GROW 'alumni' currently in BASF, who've been through this experience fairly recently in order to guide us and help us figure things out. With everything running smoothly, I am now also looking forward to my next rotation and am hopeful that I will get more opportunities to develop my technical skills further."

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Outside of the office, Julia is quite the gastronome, saying "I absolutely love trying out new restaurants and cuisines, and recently I had the experience of trying African cuisine, which was absolutely amazing, as there were curry elements, but also 'reinterpreted' from the more common South Asian cuisine. I love that Melbourne is a cultural melting pot, so it would be a waste to not try all the fantastic cuisine available here."

In fact, Julia has even travelled to the Malaysian state of Penang (aptly nicknamed 'The Pearl of the Orient' as an extraordinary little island that has become a meeting point for colonial, oriental and Southeast Asian cultures and cuisines). During her visit, she got to tick numerous entries off her foodie hit list including char koay teow (fried rice noodles with prawns, cockles, sweet sausage and bean sprouts), beef rendang (a very rich dish made with meat slow-cooked with a mixture of herbs, spices and coconut milk) as well as apam balik (a crispy, pancake-like dessert that can be filled with various ingredients for a sweet or savoury treat) amongst others. She especially enjoyed the noodles, saying "The first time I tried char koay teow from a street hawker, wok-fried over a roaring coal fire, it was really an unforgettable  experience as everything felt so intense and that's before I even had a taste, which lived up to my already high expectations! Actually, just talking about it again makes me think about planning my next trip to Penang to continue my gastronomic adventure now that the borders are open!"

Hang in there, Julia...we're sure you'll be able to head there very soon. In the meantime, we wish Julia all the best and would also like to say that wherever her next rotation takes her, we're very sure that Julia will be getting invaluable experience and perspectives on how BASF ANZ operates.