This week, we had the pleasure of interviewing Christoph Schmitz, who comes from Köln, Germany and finished his bachelor in Business administration. He decided to come to develop his professional skills before he starts his master studies.
He attended an internship with INTERNeX in Vancouver at Purdy´s, the leading chocolate company in Canada.
Why did you come to Canada?
Well, I´ve been traveling quite a lot I would say but I’ve never been to Canada before and it was like a very unfamiliar place and I wanted to discover something new and that´s mostly why I came.
Tell me about Purdy´s, the company you are working for.
Purdy´s is the chocolate leading company here in Canada and they have 63 shops all over the country. It was founded in 1907 by Mr. Purdy and since 1963 the Flavelle Family owns the business.
This is the only Factory, located in 2777 of Kingsway in Vancouver, but there is another location with a bigger warehouse and also offices in the City of Vancouver.
What is the best and the worst about working in a chocolate Factory?
The best specially here is that people are really very nice, friendly and helpful. They help me a lot, especially during the beginning. Another good thing is that I have very interesting tasks here.
But eating chocolate everyday is not so good. Hahahaha. Well, I have to admit is not so bad as well!
Have you gained weight since you work here?
I guess a bit, hahaha, but I didn’t step on the scale, but maybe a bit yes.
What’s the most unexpected thing about working in Purdy’s?
Well, here I work for purchasing, but I also do some quality issues, and also participate in some smaller projects. Is very interesting because I didn´t expect to try different things other than purchasing.
What´s the most interesting thing that you learned?
I didn´t have really too much idea about purchasing before and I think I know quite a lot know, and I also got in contact with a lot of people and that´s very interesting.
What are your basic daily tasks?
Mostly all the colleagues from another departments come and tell me what they need, for example ingredients or so, and I start my research on the internet, catalogues and so, and I have to find good quality and good price. Then I give suggestions about what can fit the best, and sometimes I try to get them samples so they can test it before.
If they agree with me, I create a purchase order and ask for quotes and I contact the suppliers, and if everybody agrees I send the purchase order and then I confirm the arrival of the order, and make sure that is complete or is not broken or if there is a kind of problem with the order.
Is your internship useful?
Definitely yes. I learnt a lot about purchasing and I saw that is very connected to my field of study, so is very useful. And of course I have interesting tasks (when I wake up every morning I don’t really think I have to go to work because I really enjoy it). It´s without doubt a great opportunity for me.
What do you like the most about Canada and Vancouver?
I really like that in Vancouver you have all the kind of places you can visit. You have the mountains, the sea, a big city, etc…so you can do everything here as long as the weather is good!
What is the thing that you liked less about Vancouver?
This question is pretty hard. I would say that the worst thing is that I miss my family, and my girlfriend, so if they were here they would make it perfect!
Did you attend some trips or activities with INTERNeX?
Yes, I attended the PuB Nights and some trips, for example the White Water Rafting Trip in Chilliwack, which was amazing.
Why did you choose INTERNeX?
I contacted a guy in Germany who looked for international internships and he suggested INTERNeX because he had a very good experience before and worked quite a lot with INTERNeX.
Was INTERNeX helpful here in Vancouver?
Yes, definitely. Mainly because it was easier to find friends and meet people in the same situation. And I was always had the chance to be in contact with you guys, and ask you questions.
Would you recommend INTERNeX?
Yes, of course, because they organize very nice trips and also the pub nights which are a very good way to meet new people and have a relaxing time after work. They also helped me a lot and when I arrived hey gave me a welcome orientation, etc.
How did you find you accommodation?
Mina from INTERNeX, helped me and contacted my homestay family, so I could get my room. It was too easy.
What’s the first thing you will do when you arrive to Germany?
For sure drink local beer!!
What’s your favorite chocolate in Purdy’s?
I really like the dark chocolate with lots of cocoa, but I would say that my favorite is the one with a combination of caramel inside and salt inside of dark chocolate. Hmmmm.
And now for all of those who love chocolate, what´s the process in the factory for making chocolate?
First we get all this huge mass of ingredients and then in the kitchen they melt the chocolate, they mix all the ingredients and make all this secret recipes. When the chocolate is done, it goes to another section where they cut it and mix it maybe with more chocolates (for example if is it has cream inside). Depending on the type of chocolate we have to add some extra ingredients.
When it´s ready, it´s saved in boxes and then they go to the pack-line where they are introduced in it´s right box or package.
Finally, the chocolate goes to the Warehouse and then to the cooling room. If we need to ship directly the chocolate in the West Coast, we have two trucks for that.
And last question that I need to know, why can´t you wear perfume in the factory?
Well, because the chocolate absorbs the tastes. For example is you put chocolate in a paper, in a few weeks is going to taste like paper. So that´s why also we can´t wear perfume because it absorbs everything.
Thank you so much Christoph for sharing your experiences with us and best of luck in your future !
INTERNeX International Exchange
Suite 2077, 2079 – 88 West Pender Street
Vancouver, Canada -V6B 9N9-