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Finance Apprentice

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Kailan Patel – St Modwen

Role: Finance Apprentice

Whilst some come to logistics with skills and qualifications gained through previous study and work experience in different sectors, others choose our industry to be their route in to a career for life.

Kailan, a Finance Apprentice at St Modwen, is a great example of the latter. All his role requires is an accountancy and taxation qualification. The rest is learning on the job, becoming exposed to real business and real opportunities to progress outside of a purely academic setting.

The spark of interest, for Kailan, came whilst studying at university. “I was asked to research the role of the supply chain, which exposed me to understanding the importance logistics has in business.”

Learning on the job has its benefits, too. “My favourite aspect? I love that every day presents me with different challenges. It means I’ve had an opportunity to gain an understanding of the industry, and to widen my knowledge and skills by not limiting it to purely accounting practices.”

A role with variety, the opportunity to progress and the chance to gain experience of real world business. Who could argue with that kind of career path?

Customs Processing Administrator

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Betsy Porter – Maersk

Role: Customs Processing Administrator

Some people enjoy routine – the same tasks and challenges, learnt and overcome. But for Betsy Porter, a rewarding career is one in which diversity pops up on a daily basis.

“I chose the position because I knew each day would be different. I felt my role would challenge me, and before I joined I was looking forward to developing my knowledge.”

Her responsibilities as a Customs Processing Administrator at Maersk are diverse and fulfilling. “My role consists of handling a range of customs entries for a range of customers and items – systems such as Destin8, CNS and CDS.”

Why fulfilling? “I learn something new every day”, says Betsy. There’s always room for development and practice, improving my customer service skills all the time.”

Betsy’s enthusiastic approach has led to responsibility too, trusted by leaders in her department and team.

“My career highlight? Being asked to be my department’s CDS champion. We needed one key person to learn all the ins and outs of the new (CDS) system, before completing training with our wider team.

That person was Betsy, and her abilities and commitment helped ensure a smooth transition within the department. And, we expect, a smooth transition along her chosen career path too.

Tender Management Support

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Elise Harris – CEVA

Role: Tender Management Support

Growing up with a parent who worked in logistics, Elise felt she already had the base of knowledge needed to seek out her own career within the industry.

And while she appreciated the abundance of opportunity and a diverse range of roles to explore, she also saw logistics as a heavily male-dominated industry, with a strict 9-5 schedule, limited freedom and a long list of rules to follow.

Since joining CEVA, that perception has changed: “I am pleased to say that the industry is moving away from being male-dominated and is becoming much more flexible. In my role I am free to go into the office as I please and have the opportunity to travel abroad for business, meaning no two days at work feel the same.”

Embracing this flexibility has proved important to Elise. “There are plenty of opportunities to develop your career in any way you wish, and to participate in projects outside of your day-to-day role. There are so many opportunities to network around the business which allow me to learn what other roles involve.”

When it comes to encouraging others to take the leap into logistics, Elise doesn’t hold back: “I would say go for it! There are plenty of roles open for all experience levels and opportunities to work your way up or to enroll on a number of different courses covering a wide range of topics, ranging from short courses of just 4 weeks all the way to degree apprenticeships.”

2nd Year Apprentice – Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump

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Danny Rao – Marshall

Role: 2nd Year Apprentice – Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump

Danny left school at 16 and dove straight into work, with the aim of forging a clear and fulfilling career path. After two years of an Aerospace apprenticeship where he gained a basic understanding of engineering practices, he decided it was time for a change.

Now as a second year apprentice at MFS, Danny says, “Coming into the logistics and refrigeration industry has been a breath of fresh air for me. I’ve always been able to take in more information and learn at a faster pace when I’m hands-on, and spending less time in the classroom.”

Danny has found that the industry and its fresh, practical way of working encourages colleagues to come out of their shells and communicate clearly, with ease.

He’s keen to highlight the skills he’s gaining while he learns, skills that he might not have recognised the value of before he made the switch.

“Being at Marshall and working alongside colleagues in the industry has enabled me to really develop my soft skills and communication, which is tremendously important when looking to develop a career. Without making the move to logistics, I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to spot that”.

Environmental Manager UK & Ireland

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Lottie Leigh-Browne – GXO

Role: Environmental Manager UK & Ireland

After completing a degree in Environmental Geography, followed by a Masters in Climate Change Science and Policy, Lottie tried roles in consultancy and app development before landing a job which focused on driving corporate sustainability.

With family members who work in logistics and a good grounding from her studies, she recognised that the fast-paced, multi-tasking environment the sector offered could be a good fit for her. Responsible for developing and driving GXO’s Sustainability Strategy across the UK and Ireland, working in logistics has proved to be much more complex than Lottie imagined:

“I hadn’t set foot in a warehouse. The complexities of the logistics industry fascinate me. To be at the forefront of the conversations around alternative fuels, renewable energy and sustainable initiatives is very exciting.”

While on the job, Lottie has received her associate membership for IEMA Environmental Management, and is working towards achieving her Practitioners’ membership, both fully supported and sponsored by management. She has also completed her IOSH Managing Safely Course.
Opportunities to continue her personal development is something she considers crucial from an employer, and when considering the best aspects of her role, Lottie emphasises her ability to drive change.

“Having exposure to senior leadership teams to make a difference feels great. I love communicating all the exciting work we’re doing to customers and hearing first-hand where they are in their journey to becoming net zero.”

When asked what she’d say to someone considering a career in logistics, Lottie emphasises the opportunity to grow:

“There are so many areas across the logistics industry that specific attributes can be applied to. Don’t worry if you enter a role that isn’t your ‘dream job’. Learning key skills and attributes that can be applied to other roles is often the most important thing. Embrace the challenges and engage with as many projects and people as possible.”

Chief Technology Officer

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Ross Jermy – UKWA

Role: Chief Technology Officer

After gaining an Undergraduate degree in physics, Ross’ dream of becoming a pilot felt out of reach. He worked in food retail for a while, before heading into banking where he became a Business Development Manager.

By 2016, Ross had years of varied experience under his belt. Working in food retail meant he’d developed strong people skills, while his time at the bank made him commercially aware and at home with sales. He still had his physics foundation too, making him a whizz with data and numbers. All of this experience added up to a mixed and incredibly valuable skill set, which won him his next role, this time in logistics.

“My job was to help franchisees grow, to sit with them and understand their challenges. That role evolved and I became more operational… I was put onto a project with Accufrate in California, developing a freight comparison tool for InXpress, to help customers order pallets online.”
Ross has since gone on to work with logistics technology businesses including Flostream, Despatch Cloud and now HubEurope, a member of UKWA – Britain’s leading trade organisation for the logistics sector.

“If you don’t move around in your career, you don’t learn from the different experiences of the people around you. The people around me really helped me develop my skills. I have been very fortunate to work with some truly inspirational people.”

Ross urges school leavers to consider logistics:
“Logistics is something that will always exist, as something always needs moving from A to B. It’s a good place to be if you want longevity and career progression.”

Apprentice Data Analyst

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Arnold Brighton – DFDS

Role: Apprentice Data Analyst

An apprenticeship with DFDS seemed like the ideal first step towards a dream job elsewhere, and after some research he became very excited to apply. Arnold had set his sights on a data-related role, but after dropping out of university and moving home to a small town, he thought his options were limited.

“I hadn’t considered a career in logistics before I saw the apprenticeship posting, although once I had done some research into the industry, I realised the immense possibilities. I didn’t know what to expect, but I can say now that the industry is very friendly and welcoming, everyone has similar goals and the opportunities are growing.”

Arnold’s role involves capturing data from available sources to verify, analyse and report his findings. His work makes everyday processes more efficient, and brings him a lot of satisfaction.

“There was a complex process a department was doing every week that took one person over a day to complete. I created a tool for them, and this process now takes under two minutes.”

Having already completed many informal courses on the job, all funded by DFDS, Arnold is keen to expand his learning. He’s energised and excited by the prospects that working in logistics offers.

“Logistics is a key industry worldwide and will always exist, it is becoming highly innovative with new technology and seems to be getting more recognition for its importance. It is a very safe and beneficial choice for a long-term career; once you are established, the possibilities of both horizontal and vertical career growth are endless.”

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HSEQ Degree Apprentice

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Warehouse Solutions Manager

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Paul Caine – KINAXIA

Role: Warehouse Solutions Manager

Paul began his career in logistics over 30 years ago, helping to configure and improve Warehouse Management Systems. After getting to grips with optimising efficiencies, processes, layouts and storage capacities, he wanted to broaden his knowledge.

A role as a Warehouse Operative proved to be a good fit, and he worked his way up, steadily gaining the experience and knowledge needed to secure a role in senior management, which saw him managing large 3PL operations for over 20 years.

But a specialism was calling, and in a new role as WMS and Operations & Lean Specialist, Paul embraced new skills in project management, continuous improvement and lean organisation management, working closely with teams to improve efficiency in all areas of operation, all while maintaining the highest level of customer service for his clients and their customers.

Paul now works with Kinaxia in the world of automation, managing a fully automated fulfilment centre. Throughout his varied and ever developing career in logistics, he still loves the challenge that comes with striving for operational improvement.

Working collaboratively with colleagues and clients to understand their business needs and develop strategies for their futures, he supports them to achieve their goals through his expertise.

“Helping businesses to build and sustain partnerships with clients whilst maintaining high levels of service has always given me so much satisfaction.”

Group Operations Manager

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Robert Cunningham – Kinaxia

Role: Group Operations Manager

Many who join the logistics industry arrive with no prior experience of the sector, but for some, it’s a family business.

“My father was a Class One driver for over 50 years, I was brought up in and around road transport, travelling all over Europe with him during my school holidays. It ignited a passion for the industry.” The road was where Robert started his career too, as a driver.

You might not find Robert on the road so much these days, but his current role as Group Operations Manager at Kinaxia has offered just as much experience and variety. “I look after the operational requirements of our General Haulage and Network divisions, supporting the Managing Director with the development and growth of the business.”

Learning on the job was clearly something Robert picked up from his dad, too. “After GCSEs, I went straight into a modern apprenticeship studying business – this allowed me to go straight into a working environment whilst furthering my education.”

And those skills have been bolstered ever since, “I currently have my Transport Managers CPC, as part of our businesses Operators License. I also have my Class 1 licenses, but I use my ‘driver’ knowledge as a useful asset in planning now I’m office based.”

Buffaload Class 1 Driver

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Domino Homer – Cold Chain Federation

Role: Buffaload Class 1 Driver

For Domino, the dream was always lorry driving. But school sent her down a different road, and after studying for a diploma in finance, she landed a job in the financial industry.

But while she was good at the job, and picked up some valuable skills doing it, it wasn’t something she felt passionately about. So she decided to get her dream back on the road.

It turned out that Domino’s partner was also keen to start a driving career, so they both passed their Class 1 in the same year, and are now both happily working for Buffaload, a member of The Cold Chain Federation – the trade body that has represented the UK temperature controlled storage and distribution industry for more than a century.

As a woman in the world of LGV driving, Domino says she was made to feel very welcome:

“At Buffaload, I’m treated like any other professional driver. In the industry you can come across those who do treat you differently because you’re female, but whenever I come up against this attitude it just encourages me to prove them wrong and show them what I’ve got.”

And she’s relishing the career journey to come, “I look forward to going to new places, seeing more of the UK and continuing to improve on my own skills as an HGV driver. I want to spread the word and influence others, male and female, to pursue this rewarding career.”